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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Lights, Action, CRISPR

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, July 13, 2017/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 directly from the pages of a SciFi novel. In what is the first 'viral video' of its kind, investigators inserted a piece of crafted 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 sequential records of digital information, like that represented within a photography or moving image, into living bacteria. They have just published their results in Nature Magazine.

The Harvard researchers took the earliest example of film animation, a 5-frame sequence of a galloping horse captured by Eadweard Muybridge in 1887. Muybridge is considered one of the pioneers of photography and a creator of animation. His images were developed for a groundbreaking book on Human and Animal Locomotion. For their 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 based on these chemicals that corresponded to the individual grey pixal tones of the original Muybridge images. The new code was then introduced into the DNA of a bacterial colony to multiply.

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

If Muybridge were alive today, the master photographer might well be making some 'viral videos' in a DNA lab himself.

WHB

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