Thanks to science, the world can become a better place. A team of researchers managed to obtain a seemingly impossible result. They encoded a short movie within deoxyribonucleic acid also known as DNA. Turning genes into a hard drive shows how much knowledge has been able to advance over the past years. On top of that, this project is not without a certain mission. Scientists have a genius purpose for this result that would improve the lives of all humans.
Scientists Used CRISPR Technology to Turn E. Coli Genomes into Hard Drive
This week, a team of scientists announced the success of an ambitious project. They managed to encode a short movie into the DNA of living bacteria of E. coli. The GIF has five frames of animation which portray a man riding a horse. This choice of material is symbolic. The galloping mare is Annie G. that pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge immortalized in the 1800s. His work became one of the first moving images ever.
Researchers needed to split each frame into grids of 36 by 26 pixels. They used nucleotides A, C, T, and G for color nuances. Afterward, they developed a code that worked as a matrix that indicates where each pixel has to go. On the other hand, they did not indicate the order of the frames. This way, they studied whether the bacterial DNA can register new details in order they receive it or not.
They prepared the E. coli cells by zapping them which forced them to open. Once they got access in, they inserted the synthesized DNA. In the end, they used CRISPR to inject the pixel codes into genomes. They needed an entire day to upload only one frame through this method. Once the entire GIF was uploaded, scientists boiled the cells to extract the DNA.
Scientists Intend to Use This Project to Turn Human Cells into Living Sensors
They eventually ran the result through software. What they saw was a version of the GIF with 90% accuracy from the original. On top of that, they found out that DNA can store information in the order it receives the data.
However, this is just one tiny step towards an even more insane goal. Scientists intend to use this technology to instruct cells how to record what is going on inside a human body and at its surface. This experiment showed that DNA is actually a hard drive that stores valuable information about all of us. If people can take control over their genomes, they can shape it and prevent diseases.
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