So they’ve played a movie back, on DNA. Seems legit. Nothing scary about this, at all.
For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in — and then played back from — DNA in living cells. Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health say it is a major step toward a “molecular recorder” that may someday make it possible to get read-outs, for example, of the changing internal states of neurons as they develop.
“We want to turn cells into historians,” explained neuroscientist Seth Shipman, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston. “We envision a biological memory system that’s much smaller and more versatile than today’s technologies, which will track many events non-intrusively over time.”
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Shipman, Harvard’s Drs. George Church, Jeffrey Macklis and Jeff Nivala report on their proof-of-concept for a futuristic “molecular ticker tape” online July 12, in the journal Nature. The work was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Human Genome Research Institute.
The ability to record such sequential events like a movie at the molecular level is key to the idea of reinventing the very concept of recording using molecular engineering, say the researchers. In this scheme, cells themselves could be induced to record molecular events — such as changes in gene expression over time — in their own genomes. Then the information could be retrieved simply by sequencing the genomes of the cells it is stored in.
For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in — and then played back from — DNA in living cells. Scientists say it’s a major step toward a ‘molecular recorder’ that may someday make it possible to access an archive of the changing internal states of a developing cell by sequencing its…