(Potscapes) – Long before human beings invented computers, nature found a way to store incredible amounts of data in a tiny package: DNA. Now, scientists are figuring out how to do the same trick — creating artificial gene sequences that use the four base pairs (A, C, G and T) to represent binary bits of information. And a group of researchers in Slovenia have demonstrated how these code-laden genes can be inserted into bacteria, transferred into plants, and passed on to subsequent generations.

 

Karin Ljubic Fister and her husband worked with faculty at the University of Ljubljana to create the pilot project, which encoded a short snippet of computer code into the DNA of tobacco plants. When the plants were cloned from cuttings and the DNA re-sequenced, converted back to binary, and executed as a Python script, the program ran flawlessly — printing “Hello World” on a computer screen.

Author: Ted Burnham

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