Three-input majority logic gate and multiple input logic circuit based on DNA strand displacement

Wei Li, Yang Yang, Hao Yan, Yan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


In biomolecular programming, the properties of biomolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids are harnessed for computational purposes. The field has gained considerable attention due to the possibility of exploiting the massive parallelism that is inherent in natural systems to solve computational problems. DNA has already been used to build complex molecular circuits, where the basic building blocks are logic gates that produce single outputs from one or more logical inputs. We designed and experimentally realized a three-input majority gate based on DNA strand displacement. One of the key features of a three-input majority gate is that the three inputs have equal priority, and the output will be true if any of the two inputs are true. Our design consists of a central, circular DNA strand with three unique domains between which are identical joint sequences. Before inputs are introduced to the system, each domain and half of each joint is protected by one complementary ssDNA that displays a toehold for subsequent displacement by the corresponding input. With this design the relationship between any two domains is analogous to the relationship between inputs in a majority gate. Displacing two or more of the protection strands will expose at least one complete joint and return a true output; displacing none or only one of the protection strands will not expose a complete joint and will return a false output. Further, we designed and realized a complex five-input logic gate based on the majority gate described here. By controlling two of the five inputs the complex gate can realize every combination of OR and AND gates of the other three inputs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2980-2988
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 12 2013


  • DNA strand displacement
  • Molecular programming
  • majority logic gate
  • molecular computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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