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Crop Biotech Update

Harvard Scientists Use CRISPR-Cas to Store Movie Clips in DNA

July 19, 2017

Scientists from Harvard Medical School in Boston successfully created cellular recording systems that are capable of encoding a series of events in a cell using the CRISPR-Cas system.

Seth Shipman and colleagues designed a system called CRISPR clips, which used the ability to capture DNA fragments from invading viruses and store them in an organized array in the host genome. In nature, the DNA fragments target an enzyme to slice up the invader's DNA. In CRISPR clips, the parts of the DNA corresponded to pixels in an image. They encoded the shading of each pixel, together with a barcode that dictates its location in the image, into 33 DNA letters. Each frame of the clip is composed of 104 of these DNA fragments.

This breakthrough could lead to the use of arrays to monitor gene expression without cracking cells open to remove their RNA.

For more information, read the news release from Nature.