No, I’m not talking about the mass media.
Rather, I’m talking about reporter genes in synthetic gene circuits, and the ‘print’ function present in most programming languages.
Recently, I took to picking up Python. So I installed Python on my computer, grabbed the python IDLE, and started trying my hand at it using Google’s Python Class.
As I was building code to complete the exercises present on the Python Class website, I found myself constantly typing “print _____________”, as if to figure out what some of the method calls did.
By analogy, each time we add in a reporter gene to a layer on a synthetic gene circuit, we are essentially calling a “print” function – a human-readable or machine-measurable parameter of the system.
Of course, it takes much longer to go from idea to circuit to testing (~2-3 weeks), compared to the 2-3 seconds it takes to compile a simple program and provide the outputs…