Israeli, Swiss scientists use DNA storage to keep helpful data in objects

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JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Swiss scientists have developed a method to store essential and useful data in DNA that is implanted in everyday objects, a senior Israeli scientist said Tuesday.

Yaniv Erlich, chief scientist of the Israeli hi-tech company MyHeritage and professor at Columbia University in New York City, conducted the current work as an independent scientist in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

In their study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the scientists were able to store information as in a computer's memory.

This method can be used to store instructions of printing three-dimensional replicas, repairing objects and more to keep patients' medical data within implants, and even hide information in human bodies in non-toxic silica beads.

The Israeli-Swiss team inserted synthetic DNA that they created in the lab into a plastic rabbit.

This DNA, encapsulated in silica beads that protect it, encoded its own 3D printing instructions.

"We actually created a non-living object that has its own blueprint. We cut a tiny piece from the bunny's ear, extracted the DNA, decoded the instructions, and replicated a new bunny", Erlich explained.

The scientists also concealed a full movie on ordinary glasses, by encoding the movie on DNA, encapsulating with silica beads, and mixing the beads with plexiglass.

They then retrieved the movie by scraping a tiny piece of material from the lens and extracting the DNA.

According to Erlich, the findings could also serve as a basis for self-replicating memory, which is a necessary condition for self-replicating robots. Enditem

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