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Totally RAD: Bioengineers Create Rewritable Digital Data Storage in DNA
ScienceDaily (May 21, 2012)
— Scientists have devised a method for repeatedly encoding, storing and erasing digital data within the DNA of living cells.
Sometimes, remembering and forgetting are hard to do.
"It took us three years and 750 tries to make it work, but we finally did it," said Jerome Bonnet, PhD, of his latest research, a method for repeatedly encoding, storing and erasing digital data within the DNA of living cells.
Bonnet, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, worked with graduate student Pakpoom Subsoontorn and assistant professor Drew Endy, PhD, to reapply natural enzymes adapted from bacteria to flip specific sequences of DNA back and forth at will. All three scientists work in the Department of Bioengineering, a joint effort of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.
"Programmable data storage within the DNA of living cells would seem an incredibly powerful tool for studying cancer, aging, organismal development and even the natural environment," said Endy.
In the computer world, their work would form the basis of what is known as non-volatile memory -- data storage that can retain information without consuming power. In biotechnology, it is known by a slightly more technical term, recombinase-mediated DNA inversion, after the enzymatic processes used to cut, flip and recombine DNA within the cell.
"I'm not even really concerned with the ways genetic data storage might be useful down the road, only in creating scalable and reliable biological bits as soon as possible. Then we'll put them in the hands of other scientists to show the world how they might be used," Endy said.
Chuck is an action-comedy/spy-drama television program from the United States created by Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. The series is about an "average computer-whiz-next-door" named Chuck, played by Zachary Levi, who receives an encoded e-mail from an old college friend now working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the message embeds the only remaining copy of the United States' greatest spy secrets into Chuck's brain.
To get there, however, science will need many new tools for engineering biology, he added, but it will not be easy. "Such systems will likely be 10 to 50 times more complicated than current state-of-the-art genetic engineering projects," he said.
For what it is worth, Endy anticipates their second bit of rewritable DNA data will arrive faster than the first and the third faster still, but it will take time.
"We're probably looking at a decade from when we started to get to a full byte," he said. "But, by focusing today on tools that improve the engineering cycle at the heart of biotechnology, we'll help make all future engineering of biology easier, and that will lead us to much more interesting places."
Originally posted by mainidh
Now I rarely say it, but this scares me.
Holy crap, you can imagine... people encoded with secret intelligence in their dna, suddenly it's not the briefcase handcuffed to your wrist, it's your arm..
This I can see terrible things with. Along with the good.
Patented genes are next. Right along with a (C) infringement notice in the genetic code.
Who needs ID chips, they'll just tag you at a dna level. Ha, kinda flies in the face of people who think the things they're doing today are decades old, when suddenly something not even used is trumped by something even worse.
Save me barry...
Originally posted by TrueBrit
This could have far more impressive implications than mere covert and clandestine information sending. This is the first real step into organic computing! Just think, science will soon be able to create entire logic engines using just DNA based constructs. Why build a computer using rare minerals from conflict nations, when you could grow a computer in a petri dish using spare plant and animal matter?
Originally posted by Cosmic4life
reply to post by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARS
I think those researchers are taking credit for mother natures work.
DNA is rewritable data storage..always has been.
Originally posted by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARSDid they really just achieve something new? Or did they just copy mother nature, on some god complex trip?