Antimicrobial Agents and Infectious Diseases

Researchers Store Movie in E. coli

No, it’s not science fiction.  Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering stored a copy of the short video “Sallie Gardner at a Gallop” or “The Horse in Motion” – one of the earliest moving pictures ever made – in bacteria and then retrieved it.

“DNA is a great place to store information,” said Seth Shipman, first author of the study.  “Biology uses it quite effectively.  It’s compact and incredibly stable.”

The team used the same system to store the movie that allows the DNA in immune system cells to store the nucleotide content of invading viruses and remember them to confer adaptive immunity.  They chopped up each frame into single-color pixels (black and white), then created DNA codes that corresponded to each color and strung several codes together.  They stored snippets of the video in the DNA of individual E. coli bacteria that contained a genomic CRISPR array, passaged the cells overnight, pooled the bacteria the next day, sequenced the genomic CRISPR arrays, extracted extraneous spacer sequences, assigned pixel values, and played back the video.

Shipman said he and his colleagues want to use their new technique to create living cells that could sense things in the environment, like toxins or heavy metals, and record and store that information in their DNA.

For more information, see the July 12 issue of Nature; DOI 10.1038/nature23017

2 Comments

Ayesha Bajwa

2017-07-18 13:39:20

mean a way of gathering information that what sort of metals are present on earth..

Ayesha Bajwa

2017-07-18 13:33:14

make it clear in simple way, don't complicate so it becomes easy to understand!