researchers at Northwestern University have devised a new method for recording information to DNA that takes minutes rather than hours or days.
The researchers utilized a novel enzymatic system to synthesize DNA that records rapidly changing environmental signals straight into its sequences, and this method could revolutionize how scientists examine and record neurons inside the brain.
A faster and higher resolution recording
To record intracellular molecular and digital data to DNA, scientists currently rely on multipart processes that combine new information with existing DNA sequences. This means that, for an accurate recording, they must stimulate and repress the expression of specific proteins, which can take over 10 hours to complete.
The new study’s researchers hypothesized they could make this process faster by utilizing a new method they call “Time-sensitive Untemplated Recording using Tdt for Local Environmental Signals”, or TURTLES. This way, they would synthesize completely new DNA rather than copying a template of it. The method enabled the data to be recorded into the genetic code in a matter of minutes.