DNA, we know as Deoxyribonucleic Acid is the blueprint for life. Now it can serve as a computing device to monitor life's processes. Bioengineers transformed DNA into a one-bit memory system that enables to record, store and erase data within living cells. Now the human life is proceeding as a computer in this informative era.
A future DNA memory device could be used to track cell division in the living body and differentiation in cancer patients, perhaps, or to monitor what happens as cells get sick or age. There are plenty of body monitoring computer system from chips that can swim through the main blood stream to nano wires that can tap the cardiovascular system or the other muscles in human body.
This system could work like rewritable memory in your computer, recording and erasing information again and again.
The system flips DNA sequences back and forth between two states, basically the genetic equivalent of a binary switch. One DNA orientation equates to "one” and the other equates to "zero".
This process uses an enzyme taken from bacteriophages to cut and re-mingle the DNA. The recombinase enzyme moves to a particular amount of DNA and flips it around so its base pairs basically read backward, and a second signal flips it back.
Stanford researchers Jerome Bonnet and Drew Endy call it a "recombinase addressable data" module, or RAD. The team worked for three years and more than 750 tries to make it work. It helped to find out the right balance of proteins that would reliably flip the DNA sequences back and forth without degrading.
In the computing sector, their work would form the basis of what is known as non volatile memory; data storage that can retain information without consuming power. In bio technology, the recombinase mediated DNA inversion, after the enzymes process used to cut, flip and recombine DNA within the living cell.
To test whether it worked, the team modified E.coli bacteria to fluoresce in different colors depending on the state of the DNA bit.
In lab tests so far, it's been able to monitor the activity of E.coli as they double more than 100 times. The team's goal is to produce a byte, combining 8 of these RAD bits to build a larger memory system.