Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Scientists replay movie encoded in DNA

“Molecular Recorder” would reveal secrets of brain development.

For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in — and then played back from — DNA in living cells. Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health say it is a major step toward a “molecular recorder” that may someday make it possible to get read-outs, for example, of the changing internal states of neurons as they develop.

For the first time, a primitive movie has been encoded in – and then played back from – DNA in living cells. Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health say it is a major step toward a “molecular recorder” that may someday make it possible to get read-outs, for example, of the changing internal states of neurons as they develop. Neuroscientist Seth Shipman, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School, explains the study.

“We want to turn cells into historians,” explained neuroscientist Seth Shipman, Ph.D.(link is external), a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston. “We envision a biological memory system that’s much smaller and more versatile than today’s technologies, which will track many events non-intrusively over time.”

Shipman, Harvard’s Drs. George Church(link is external), Jeffrey Macklis(link is external) and Jeff Nivala(link is external)report on their proof-of-concept for a futuristic “molecular ticker tape” online July 12, in the journal Nature. The work was funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The ability to record such sequential events like a movie at the molecular level is key to the idea of reinventing the very concept of recording using molecular engineering, say the researchers. In this scheme, cells themselves could be induced to record molecular events – such as changes in gene expression over time – in their own genomes. Then the information could be retrieved simply by sequencing the genomes of the cells it is stored in.

“If we had those transcriptional steps, we could potentially use them like a recipe to engineer similar cells,” added Shipman. “These could be used to model disease – or even in therapies.”

For starters, the researchers had to show that DNA can be used to encode not just genetic information, but any arbitrary sequential information into a genome. For this they turned to the cutting-edge, NIH-funded gene editing technology CRISPR. They first demonstrated that they could encode and retrieve an image of the human hand in DNA inserted into bacteria. They then similarly encoded and reconstructed frames from a classic 1870s race horse in motion(link is external) sequence of photos – an early forerunner of moving pictures.

The researchers had previously shown that they could use CRISPR to store sequences of DNA in bacteria. CRISPR is a group of proteins and DNA that act as an immune system in some bacteria, vaccinating them with genetic memories of viral infections. When a virus infects a bacterium, CRISPR cuts out part of the foreign DNA and stores it in the bacteria’s own genome. The bacterium then uses the stored DNA to recognize the virus and defend against future attacks.

“The sequential nature of CRISPR makes it an appealing system for recording events over time,” explained Shipman.

The researchers then similarly translated five frames from the race horse in motion photo sequence into DNA. Over the course of five days, they sequentially treated bacteria with a frame of translated DNA. Afterwards, they were able to reconstruct the movie with 90 percent accuracy by sequencing the bacterial DNA.

Although this technology could be used in a variety of ways, the researchers ultimately hope to use it to study the brain.

“We want to use neurons to record a molecular history of the brain through development,” said Shipman. “Such a molecular recorder will allow us to eventually collect data from every cell in the brain at once, without the need to gain access, to observe the cells directly, or disrupt the system to extract genetic material or proteins.”

GRANTS: MH103910, NS045523, HG005550

About the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery and cure. For more information, visit the NIMH website.

About the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

About the National Human Genome Research Institute: NHGRI is one of the 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health. The NHGRI Extramural Research Program supports grants for research, and training and career development at sites nationwide. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at www.genome.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

Reference

Shipman SL, Nivala J, Macklis JD, Church GM. CRISPR-Cas encoding of a digital movie into the genomes of a population of living bacteria. Nature, July 12, 2017, DOI:10.1038/nature23017(link is external).

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/scientists-replay-movie-encoded-dna

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1st molecular movie. Yeah, :cool:

As l understand it, it is part of developing new measurements for brain studies.

How this relates to medical radiology with tracers l do not know.

Edited by hasanhh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recent Posts on ShiaChat!

    • Need to explain the reason of this wiki and Islam. My way of thinking : How do we sure/certain that Iblis has knowledge of God perfectly when he/Iblis disobey God's order to bow.
    • Salaam Alaykum Brother Good for your sister that has such a good brother. It is very important to observe Hijab and Islamic dress code. First of all, don't expect your sister to change her behaviour in one night. This process takes months, or maybe one or two years, so be patient. Never get angry on this because it only ruins your previous effort. Always calm and patient. Second, don't expect your sister to be nice to you when you talk about Hijab with her. She probably disrespects you or say inappropriate words, you MUST be quiet if it happens. Apparently your mother is concerned about this. It's a good thing that you are not alone. Observing Islamic dress code is very very gradual process. Your mother and you should be together and patient. Try to be more respectful to your sister and help her as much as you can. Let her think that you always support her. Your mother should also show observation in this matter. Your sister should see that your mother doesn't wear any kind of cloth. For example, when your mother and you and your sister are shopping, your mother should say(loudly so that your sister hears that), I don't like this dress. It's too short or tight and I'm Muslim. Never use force or fighting to make her dress islamically. Let her to understand this herself. Remember be kinder and more patient. Do as much favor as you can for your sister. Tell your mother to do the same. Gradually you can start talking with your sister in person about Hijab. The key is that she should first TRUST you that you are saying that just for help and your love as her brother.
    • Over the last 40 years, we have seen an increase in income inequality, especially in the US, with wages stagnating for a large majority of the population, but profits for corporations continuing to grow exponentially, this was obviously dealt a blow in the financial crisis, but the mechanisms in place to fix the crisis largely continued to promote neoliberal, state capitalism. The federal reserve, which I believe is criticised unfairly is largely a mechanism in place to fix problems within a very highly flawed system. You need a body that has to regulate banks and interest rates, otherwise you would have a situation that is even worse, where banks would continually just collude and set rates in a way that benefits them. The problem however is that, the Fed's mechanisms only empower the same system that has done damage to so many people's lives. By promoting bank bailouts, which then just give the bank the insurance that they can continue to do whatever they want, and the government will just continue to bail them out, they have no much incentive to act differently. Financial reform and regulation have been implemented since the financial crisis but these aren't enough, and the bailouts only led to bank CEOs giving themselves higher bonuses. But the question is how do you fix the system? If you don't bail the banks out, you leave millions unemployed, you make small business reliant on banks for short-term financing shut down. If you don't print money and you don't increase the deficit, you get rid of the few ways in a flawed economic system to boost the economy. So how do you fix it? More regulation? Do you make the Federal Open Market Committee meetings more public, but then that just allows political influence and gives more power to a very corrupt congress to make decisions, when you can't exactly trust them either? There have been attempts to make other currency systems like bitcoin, but on a national level what is a good solution? To centralise the banks completely would be a good idea but its just giving power to corrupt lawmakers who are bought by corporate interests. 
    • I think an important question that nobodies asked is what kind of relationship do you have with your sister?  If you're not super close and just come out of nowhere with all these rules shes going to rebel and your parents could get involved- telling you to stay out of it. If this happens- she might think its okay because her parents are defending her.  If you're not close, then maybe this is an opportunity to be. Try and be really open and non judgemental and find out why she doesn't wish to observe hijab. It may just be down to ignorance: she simply doesn't know its importance in islam. You'd be surprised what kind of interesting conversations you'd have.  My brothers beliefs are fairly different to mine and fairly often we have interesting discussions/debates about all kinds of topics. He's also very open minded so I feel reassurance/comfort if I ever need to ask advice or information about a certain topic. 
×