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Who Needs Hard Drives? Scientists Store Film Clip in DNA


Muybridge galloping horse images

Eadweard Muybridge's 1878 film of a galloping mare has been encoded in the DNA of a living cell.

Credit: Companimator

A video clip of a galloping horse, which was originally one of the very first motion pictures ever made, is now also the first movie ever to be encoded in the DNA of a living cell, where it can be retrieved at will and manipulated indefinitely as the host divides and grows. This breakthrough, achieved by researchers at Harvard Medical School, represents the latest example of the genome's potential as a data storage device. The Harvard team next wants to program bacteria to interact with human cells and record a "movie" of each cell's life.

Physicist Richard Feynman in a 1959 lecture suggested DNA could be used for storage, which University of Southern California professor Leonard Adleman says was an inspiration for his research into DNA as a storage medium.

University of Minnesota professor Andrew Odlyzko calls the Harvard research fascinating, and says it could lead to "the impossibility of controlling secrets."

From The New York Times 
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