CRISPR stores a Movie into the DNA of Bacteria | QPT
For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in – and then played back from – DNA in living cells.
The research team shows in foundational proof-of-principle experiments that the CRISPR system is able to encode information as complex as a digitized image of a human hand, reminiscent of some of the first paintings drawn on cave walls by early humans, and a sequence of one of the first motion pictures made ever, that of a galloping horse, in living cells.
When a virus infects a bacterium, CRISPR cuts out part of the foreign DNA and stores it in the bacteria’s own genome. The bacterium then uses the stored DNA to recognize the virus and defend against future attacks.
The researchers translated five frames from the race horse in motion photo sequence into DNA. Over the course of five days, they sequentially treated bacteria with a frame of translated DNA. Afterwards, they were able to reconstruct the movie with 90 percent accuracy by sequencing the bacterial DNA.
Although this technology could be used in a variety of ways, the researchers ultimately hope to use it to study the brain.
Scientists 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.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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