This bizarre DNA event recording system can track cellular activity from birth to death

What is DNA event recording and how does it work?

Using advanced CRISPR-mediated DNA editing and genome engineering techniques, scientists can introduce a synthetic DNA region in an animal’s DNA. This region contains “genetically encoded DNA barcode arrays” called DNA tapes that record cellular changes in the form of mutations. Later, these recordings can be recovered via DNA sequencing.

DNA tapes are just one component of the DNA event recording system. It also comprises a molecular machine (a molecular video camera) to sense what is going on inside and outside the cell, a writer system to transmit such information to the synthetic DNA tape by repurposing genome editing technologies, and a reader that reconstructs biological history (from the recorded mutations) using DNA sequencing and high-performance computing.

According to the researchers, this entire DNA event recording system targets the synthetic DNA regions and therefore, it does not affect the original DNA or the native biological system. Plus, it is also likely to solve the major problem related to studying cellular activity i.e. killing animals of the same species again and again to study the changes occurring at different stages of life. The cell-embedded recording would require us to sacrifice an animal only once at the endpoint to see previous event history information.

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