DailyDirt: Bioengineered Microbes Are Growing Our Way

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Scientists haven't quite figured out everything about the genetic code of living things on Earth, but plenty of folks are tinkering with genetic engineering and creating some interesting results. Here are just a few neat projects with some modified microbes. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.
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Filed Under: bacteria, biology, evolution machine, genetic engineering, lasers, microbes


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  • icon
    Keith_Emperor_of_Penguins (profile), 19 Oct 2011 @ 5:11pm

    "The technique of steganography by printed arrays of microbes (SPAM) sounds like the nerdiest way to send a message. Using bacteria to encode secret messages could also be another interesting method for lots of copies keeps stuff safe"

    Good Lord! That sounds like a Germophobic Copyright Shill's worst nightmare

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 20 Oct 2011 @ 12:36am

    Why would anyone think that using organic matter to encode messages is a good idea?

    Microbes grow, reproduce, die, etc.

    Organic technology is popular in science fiction, but is it really practical?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Michael Ho (profile), 20 Oct 2011 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      Why would anyone think that using organic matter to encode messages is a good idea?

      Stuff written on paper can be erased, burned, photocopied...

      All information is subject to accidental destruction, right? The DNA of microbes contains some of the oldest information of life for our planet... so why not try to store information in DNA? The problem might be that the message could get corrupted, but is the rate of DNA corruption that much faster than other storage media?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 20 Oct 2011 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Stuff written on paper can be erased, burned, photocopied...

        All information is subject to accidental destruction, right? The DNA of microbes contains some of the oldest information of life for our planet... so why not try to store information in DNA? The problem might be that the message could get corrupted, but is the rate of DNA corruption that much faster than other storage media?


        True that paper copies can be accidentally destroyed, but with bacteria, can the message still be read if the bacteria dies off? Maybe the delivery van was parked in the sun and the internal temperature went up to 120 degrees, cooking the microbes. Or maybe the letter gets irradiated as an intentional effort to kill off bacteria. Didn't they start doing that after the anthrax scares? Is the message still the same if the bacteria multiplies?

        It just seems that organic matter is too unpredictable to be a reliable way to hold a message.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Michael Ho (profile), 20 Oct 2011 @ 6:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not exactly sure how they've encoded the messages in DNA (tl;dr), but the DNA itself shouldn't be destroyed when the bacteria die off (unless those dead bacteria are consumed by other organisms which chemically break down the encoded-message DNA)...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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