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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Hardware Bugs" Or Using Living Bacteria As A Hard Drive: Stored Data Can Be Passed To Offspring

Scientists Turn Bacteria into Living Hard Drives

Living organisms can store lines of code and pass them down to their progeny.​

William Herkewitz | June 9, 2016

By feeding strings of human-written data into colonies of bacteria, scientists have discovered a way to turn tiny cells into living, squirming hard drives.
A team of Harvard scientists led by geneticists Seth Shipman and Jeff Nivala has just developed a fascinating way to write chunks information into the genetic code of living, growing bacterial cells. It could be the code for a computer program or the lines of a poem. Either way, these living memory sticks can pass this data onto their descendants, and scientists can later read that data by genotyping the bacteria. As Shipman explains in a paper today in the journal Science, his method can upload roughly 100 bytes of data.

"Your next hard drive - bacteria." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (Harvard Scientists Create Hard Drives That Are Alive. June 13, 2016) and (Molecular recordings by directed CRISPR spacer acquisition. Seth L. Shipman, Jeff Nivala1, Jeffrey D. Macklis and George M. Church. Science, June 9, Jun 2016. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1175. [Abstract: The ability to write a stable record of identified molecular events into a specific genomic locus would enable the examination of long cellular histories and have many applications, ranging from developmental biology to synthetic devices. We show that the type I-E CRISPR-Cas system of E. coli can mediate acquisition of defined pieces of synthetic DNA. We harnessed this feature to generate records of specific DNA sequences into a population of bacterial genomes. We then applied directed evolution to alter the recognition of a protospacer adjacent motif by the Cas1-Cas2 complex, which enabled recording in two modes simultaneously. We used this system to reveal aspects of spacer acquisition, fundamental to the CRISPR-Cas adaptation process. These results lay the foundations of a multimodal intracellular recording device.])>

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