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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Lights, Action, CRISPR

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, June 8, 2019/Categories: video, art and design, adventure

Original 1887 Muybridge Animation & CRISPR DNA Copy (credit: WYSS/Harvard)

The applications of CRISPR technology continue to boggle the mind. The rate at which this DNA manipulation tool is being applied is simply astonishing with some uses seemly pulled from the pages of SciFi novels. In a 'viral video', investigators inserted a piece of manufactured DNA code into bacteria and played back a movie. Researchers at the Wyss Institute and the Harvard Medical School in Boston engineered a CRISPR system that enables the embedding of digital records, like a photograph or movie, into a living bacteria. Their results were published in Nature Magazine.

The Harvard researchers took the earliest example of film animation, a 5-frame sequence of a horse galloping horse originally captured in 1887 by Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge is considered one of the pioneers of photography and a creator of animation. His pioneering images were produced for a groundbreaking book on Human and Animal Locomotion. For the new CRISPR recording system, the Harvard researchers used the chemical bases of A (adenine), T (thymine), C (cytosine) and G (guanine), the building blocks of DNA. They then created a new DNA sequence of ATCG bases that corresponded to the individual gray pixal tones of the original Muybridge images. The new code was introduced into a bacterial DNA colony to multiply.

In announcing the CRISPR recording method for data storage, the researchers demonstrated a series of 'proof of concept experiments' showing the technology actually worked. When the CRISPR-encoded DNA was extracted from the bacteria, the introduced DNA sequences replayed the digital photographs of the original 1887 animation. They explain their project here:

If Muybridge were still alive, the master photographer/animator might well be creating some 'viral videos' in a DNA lab himself.

WHB

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