SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Rewritable DNA Memory Shown Off
from BBC News Online
Researchers in the US have demonstrated a means to use short sections of DNA as rewritable data "bits" in living cells. The technique uses two proteins adapted from viruses to "flip" the DNA bits. Though it is at an early stage, the advance could help pave the way for computing and memory storage within biological systems.
A team reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says the tiny information storehouses may also be used to study cancer and aging. The team, from Stanford University's bioengineering department, has been trying for three years to fine-tune the biological recipe they use to change the bits' value.
The bits comprise short sections of DNA that can, under the influence of two different proteins, be made to point in one of two directions within the chromosomes of the bacterium E. coli. The data are then "read out" as the sections were designed to glow green or red when under illumination, depending on their orientation.