CADMAD aims at achieving a foundational breakthrough in the way computers and computer-aided design and manufacturing is employed in DNA-based research and development, making a radically new use of information technologies in biology and biotechnology. 


CADMAD's vision is to replace the labour-intensive one-DNA-molecule-at-a-time processing carried out today by tens of thousands of skilled wet-lab workers around the world, by high-throughput computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA.  Computed-aided design and manufacturing of semiconductor chips has enabled the computer revolution, the Internet revolution, and the mobile phone revolution.  Computer-aided design and manufacturing of DNA may similarly enable a revolution in biology and biotechnology.


CADMAD's objective is to help realize this vision by advancing the development and application of a high-throughput CAD/CAM system for DNA to a level where it is demonstrably superior to conventional methods for DNA processing.  We will achieve this objective through tight collaboration between the CADMAD participants, employing a prototype computer-aided design and manufacturing system to produce DNA that addresses participants’ research needs, while developing and improving the system in response to these needs.  This collaborative approach will propel the development of the system by testing it against a broad spectrum of cutting-edge research problems in biology, especially in the emerging fields of systems biology and synthetic biology.


The proposed system, a prototype of which already exists. The system includes a biologist-friendly user interface for specifying a DNA processing task. The specification consists of a set of input molecules, the molecules available to the biologist at present, and the set of output molecules, the molecules the biologist wishes to have, which are typically variations, extensions and/or combinations of the input molecules.   The task specification is transformed, through the application of algorithms and compilers, into a robot control program for executing the task.  The robotic system then performs the resulting program and transforms the given input molecules into the target output molecules.  If successful, this system may constitute a model for an automated, vertically-integrated DNA fab that can be replicated and expanded in the future.




Seventh Framework Programme, Opens in a new window

Funded by the European Commission under the FP7 – ICT-2007.8.0: FET Open
Project Acronym:
Project ID: 265505
Start Date: 01/02/2011
Duration: 36 months

Project Budget: 3.99 million Euro
Type: Collaborative project

End Date: 31/01/2014
Project Status: Execution.