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Technology has advanced so much that scientists have managed to encode data of a short video into the DNA molecules of a bacterium. Moreover, the researchers also were able to retrieve the genetic code info and play back the film.

How was the process?

In order to accomplish this achievement, the researchers used an 1879’s film of a race horse. Five frames of the film were used and they were broken down into pixels. The researchers used the DNA to create a code for each pixel. The code has information such as the pixel’s color and location.

A further step made by the researchers was to insert fragments of the DNA which contained the codes into bacteria and the bacteria inserted the fragments into their genome, a natural process. Then, the bacterial DNA was sequenced to reconstruct the film. The accuracy was of 90%.

What was the purpose of the experiment?

According to the researchers, the goal is not only concerned with this study.  The ultimate purpose is to manage to create what they have called “molecular recorder”. These recorders should ideally record the events inside cells while they play out. For example, processes occurring during the development of the brain are difficult to observe and such a mechanism would help future investigations.

The study was published in the journal Nature on the 12th of July. The co-author of the study, a postdoctoral at Harvard Medical School, Seth Shipman states that the study does have plenty of implications. It was not made just to store films or videos inside bacteria. The goal was to help scientists for further research.

Shipman considers that this process could turn cells into “historians” that is to say the cells could become a biological memory system.

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