The images and videos the researchers pasted inside E. Coli are composed of black-and-white pixels. First, the scientists encoded the pixels into DNA. Then, they put their DNA into the E. coli cells using electricity. Running an electrical current across cells opens small channels in the cell wall, and then the DNA can flow inside. From here, the E. Coli’s CRISPR system grabbed the DNA and incorporated it into its own genome. “We found that if we made the sequences we supplied look like what the system usually grabs from viruses, it would take what we give,” Shipman says.
Once the information was inside, the next step was to retrieve it. So, the team sequenced the E. coli DNA and ran the sequence through a computer program, which successfully reproduced the original images. So the running horse you see at the top of the page is really just the computer's representation of the sequenced DNA, since we can’t see DNA with the naked eye.
Now we need to find more plausible mechanisms by which this kind of process might take place. But, this is a cool first step and makes the GKC a little less conjectural.
In related news, this recent paper is also quite interesting against the background of the Gallistel-King conjecture: 10.1073/pnas.1621132114 . Information storage capacity of individual cells seems to be greater than widely assumed.ReplyDelete