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Generations of Bunnies

Researchers have 3D-printed plastic bunnies that encase the information needed to make more such bunnies, Discover magazine reports.

As GenomeWeb reports, the researchers relied on a 'DNA-of-things' (DoT) storage framework in which DNA encoded with data then encapsulated in tiny beads that can then be incorporated into a range of materials that can be made into numerous shapes. Researchers led by ETH Zurich's Robert Grass write in Nature Biotechnology this week that they synthesized five generations of that plastic bunny — using the data stored in each bunny to create the next generation — with no information loss and no need for additional DNA synthesis. The researchers also showed that the approach was scalable by storing a 1.4 MB video in DNA in plexiglass and retrieving it.

The researchers say this approach could be used to encode electronic health information within medical implants. For instance, Wired notes, tooth fillings could also include patients' dental history.

"It may also facilitate the development of self-replicating machines," the researchers add in their paper.