Music in the DNA. Beethoven encoded in the genome of yeast

Music in DNA. Beethoven encoded in yeast genome

A piece by Ludwig van Beethoven has been encrypted in the genome of yeast "for Eliza". Despite tinkering with important genes, the yeast from the "musical" DNA were capable of living. Monika Zbytniewska, one of the authors of the study, talks about how easy it is to edit the genome today.

What if, in the future, we store data not on electronic devices, but in tiny extremely packable structures – such as DNA, well known to nature? Scientists are already testing how it is possible to write in DNA exactly the kind of information we can think of. And the cipher fragments have to be designed in such a way that they do not interfere with theóthe entire functioning of the organism.

Thanks to genome editing technologyów can program genes with precision down to single nucleotidesów – "letters" forming genetic information. A spectacular example of the use of this technique this year was the encoding in the DNA of bacteria. krótki video.

Yeast for Eliza

Monika Zbytniewska in an interview with PAP tells about their research, whichóre conducted as part of the studiesóat Imperial College London. She and her colleagues encoded in yeast DNA the creation of aór musical – "For Eliza" Ludwig van Beethoven. After a few days of creationór this was able to reproduce by analyzing genes obtained from a fungus colony grown in the experimentów.

The bacterial genome was transcribed with a piece ofór in MIDI format.

A nice piece of Beethoven in the DNA

Young researchers have substituted the original yeast DNA fragment of 1,000 nucleotide pairsów and replaced it with a new one, whichóry they designed themselves.

– There are already laboratories, które synthesizing DNA. So we designed our fragment and zamówe put it online. It costs about £100óin the UK. Zamówired DNA – just one molecule – is sent by mail – in a small probówce. DNA is dry and so tiny that you can’t actually see it at the bottom of the container,” says the researcher. The fragment needs to be multiplied and delivered to the comórek.

The fragments were swapped with the original by using simple and inexpensive gene editing technologyów – CRISPR-Cas9. CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) are RNA molecules thatóre are like a guide to the DNA chain. They are able to find a precise spot in the genome and bring the right enzyme there – Cas9. The Cas9 protein, on the other hand, acts like a pair of scissors – it cuts DNA at the exact location indicated. At the next stage, some other precisely designed DNA fragment can be built into this selected DNA site.

One of the experimentsóin the powiódł. Comóyeast tubes with a new piece of DNA began to multiply rapidly in a petri dish. After a few days, scientists verified that indeed in the genome of the fungusów continuously encoded was createdór Beethoven’s.

Changes thatóre won’t change much

– I worked on an algorithm, który will allow notes to be written in the DNA fragment without changing the operation of the fragment,” said Zbytniewska. She explained that one cannot tinker freely with DNA and encode information in it in a completely random wayób. It must be taken into account that DNA stores the recipe for amino acids. And they, in turn, form the proteins necessary for life. – We wanted our modifications to produce exactly the same amino acids as in the original,” says a student.

She explains that each of the 20 amino acidsów can be encoded in DNA in several waysów. And so, for example. One of the amino acidsów – proline – is encoded by four codons: CCA, CCC, CCG or CCT. Monika Zbytniewska suggested how to safely substitute individualólne triplets written in DNA with their replacements. And in these modifications sew in additional information, such as. about the notes. To read the hidden message, you just need to know how to look for that information. This experiment was successful.

Researchers have modified a fragment of the genome really important for yeast life. And yet comórka was able to survive. In this wayób a living organism became the carrier of the information recorded by the researchers.

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