Latest in Science

Image credit: Cui, Lu, Perli et. al., MIT

Gene editing records 'memories' in human DNA

Sequencing these genes tells you what happened to them.
1149 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Cui, Lu, Perli et. al., MIT

Scientists have been recording data in DNA for a while, but it has usually involved bacteria and other simple organisms. MIT, however, just took a big leap forward. Its researchers have used the CRISPR gene editing technique to record histories in human cell DNA for the first time. They've crafted a gene circuit that only expresses an enzyme when it's near a key immune cell molecule, building up mutations the more it's exposed to that molecule. All you have to do to extract "memories" is to sequence those genes. They'll tell you whether or not there was a lot of inflammation, for instance.

It's not limited to one input, either. The MIT team found that they could produce multiple RNA strands in response to specific conditions, such as the presence of a certain medicine.

You probably won't see this approach used in humans any time soon. Sorry, your medical history won't be written in your genes. However, it could be extremely helpful for studies. Scientists could better track the development of an animal from embryo to adulthood, and understand the advancement of cancer or infections. Think of this more as a stepping stone for other discoveries than anything else.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1149 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Downloaded Disney+ movies will keep working even if they leave the service

Downloaded Disney+ movies will keep working even if they leave the service

View
16-bit 'Aladdin' and 'Lion King' cartridges are returning in 2020

16-bit 'Aladdin' and 'Lion King' cartridges are returning in 2020

View
Samsung's fix for Galaxy S10 fingerprint scanning will roll out soon

Samsung's fix for Galaxy S10 fingerprint scanning will roll out soon

View
Apple Pay is more popular than Starbucks for US mobile payments

Apple Pay is more popular than Starbucks for US mobile payments

View
Tesla turns a profit as it spins up trial production in Shanghai

Tesla turns a profit as it spins up trial production in Shanghai

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr