When DNA is the new hard drive

Headline : When DNA is the new hard drive

Details :

Why in News?

  • The Scientists were able to store a Film Clip in a fragment of DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid).
  • The very first motion picture ever made of a galloping mare filmed in 1878 is now the first movie to be coded in the DNA of a living cell.
  • The film on DNA can be retrieved at will and multiplied indefinitely as the host divides and grows.



  • The chains of DNA in each cell are made of just four molecules — adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine, arranged in varied configurations.
  • The geneticists ended up with a sequence of DNA molecules that represented the entirety of the film.
  • They used a new gene editing technique ‘Crispr’, to slip this sequence into the genome of common gut bacteria- E. Coli.
  • The bacteria then thrived and multiplied and the film stored in the genome was preserved intact with each new generation of progeny.


Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid

  • DNA resembles a long, twisty ladder formed by two strands of genetic material that connect to create a “double helix.”
  • Each rung of the ladder joins together a pair of molecules called nucleotides: adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C) and guanine (G). A always teams up with T, and C always pairs with G.


Genome Editing

  • The genomes of various organisms encode a series of messages and instructions within their DNA sequences.
  • Genome editing involves changing those sequences and thereby changing the messages.
  • This can be done by inserting a cut or break in the DNA and tricking a cell’s natural DNA repair mechanisms into introducing the changes one wants.


CRISPR technology 

  • CRISPR is shorthand for “CRISPR-Cas9” and is a tool for editing genomes.
  • CRISPRs (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) are specialised stretches of DNA with two distinct characteristics: the presence of nucleotide repeats and spacers.
  • The protein Cas9 (or “CRISPR-associated”) is an enzyme that acts like a pair of molecular scissors, capable of cutting strands of DNA.
  • It has many potential applications like correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops etc.


DNA used a storage device

  • Scientists have already managed to translate all of Shakespeare’s sonnets into DNA.
  • Scientist has encoded his own book “Regenesis,” into bacterial DNA.
  • DNA is used as a computer to solve a math problem


Future possibilities

  • Recent research is the most astonishing example of the genome’s potential as a vast storage device. It can have various strange possibilities in future like:-
  1. Programming of the bacteria to snuggle up the cells in the human body and to record what they are doing, in essence making a “movie” of each cell’s life.
  2. When something goes wrong, when a person gets ill, doctors might extract the bacteria and play back.
Section : Science & Tech