Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Mythological Phoenix...

Chinese researchers store data in bacteria

Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have successfully shown how to store encrypted data in bacteria. A colony of E.coli was used for the experiment, with the equivalent of the United States Declaration of Independence stored in the DNA of eighteen bacterial cells. As 10 million cells are present in one gram of biological material, this would translate to a data storage capacity of 90GB.

Data can also be encrypted thanks to the natural process of site-specific genetic recombination. Information is scrambled by recombinase genes, the actions of which are controlled by a transcription factor.

The method has some flaws, however, as an expensive sequencer is needed to retrieve data, with the process described as tedious as well. What's more, toxic DNA usually found in stored sequences will mutate and remove the toxic sequences, taking some of the data with it.

Only copyright information can be stored in genetically engineered organisms thus far. Bacteria has the potential to be more resilient to keeping data storage than traditional, electronic means. Deinococcus radiodurans bacterium, for example, can withstand electromagnetic pulses and a radiation from a nuclear fallout

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Think of the Sci-fi aspects of this. Instead of someday sending people into interstellar space to the Stars. Why not program certain bacteria strains to allow evolution to occur on other worlds where the data of stored human DNA sequence...s would interact with the DNA of the bacteria. There was a similar concept in Star Trek the Next Generation where a prior existing species had modified the bacteria and cast them adrift in the Nebula Clouds---the the Offspring the the Alpha Species included all the major known species of Star Trek; human, Klingon, Cardasian, Romulan, Vulcan, and even Beta-Zoids.

With bacteria programmed or altered in some way like this, it would give an entire new meaning to Panspermia or the possibility. If not bacteria, then nanotechnology that has merged with biological sciences. The decedents of Humans, in the science fictional aspects could arise anew out of the ashes of their existence on countless worlds--A mythical Phoenix. In a variety of forms and designs that were independently evolutionary events on 1,000 future worlds.

It is mindboggling if it came into full reality, who knows what 100 years will bring forth. Conceptual designs--sketches of thoughts.


Paulie said...

Yikes. Maybe it's not as scary as it sounds, but the fact that the Chinese are the first to try it doesn't ease my mind.

Jerry M. Weikle said...

It does sound a bit scary or radically different that what would be expected, data storage within a cell of a biological microbe. Yet, to make discoveries, the boundaries sometimes have to be crossed to see where the next level of advancement occurs. Sometimes, the road or path might lead to a "dead-end"; what is beyond the atom for data-storage? The destruction of the protons or neutrons, or meuons, and the variety of quarks (up, down, left, right, diagnonal, and strange); so they are pushing the boundaries with data storage.

Fifteen years ago, Paulie, Cellular Phones were 'clunkers' and they have radically been adapted to being mobile web enabled. What technology occurs out of this development, might see within 10-15 years and not just data-storage but cancer fighting medical advances....