Bio! News January 2013 – D

Bio! News
January 2013 – D

From Goldman, et al., (2013).

DNA data storage
The use of DNA as an information storage device is no longer limited to living organisms and the whole information available in the world may one day be stored in such way. Its long lifespan and the low storage costs to maintain it, make DNA an attractive alternative for information storage. A notable breakthrough came in 2011, when Church, Gao and Kosuri published how their were able to store a 5.27 mega bit book in DNA and then retrieve that information it using next-generation sequencing. The main limitations for the technology seemed to be the costs of DNA synthesis and error rates. Nevertheless, a recent paper describes how widespread DNA information storage may become feasible in the near future. In this paper, researchers synthesized indexed, overlapping DNA fragments that encoded the complete Shakespeare sonnets, the classic 1953 Watson and Crick paper, the EBI logo, 25 seconds of the Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech and some computer code. Researchers report a 88% effiency on the megabyte scale and that the technique is still >65% efficient in the exabyte range.

From Biffi, et al., (2013).

Four-stranded DNA
Evidence for the presence of four-stranded DNA in living human cells is presented in a paper by Baffi and colleagues. This structure can be found in G-rich DNA sequences and previous research have associated it to specific genomic elements -such as promoters, genes, untranslated regions and telomeres- and cellular processes -such as transcription, recombination and replication-. Now, Baffi et al., report how they were able to detect this structure in living human cells using antibodies and found that their presence is related to cell cycle progression.


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