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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.

The Scan

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.

Family Genetic Risk Score Linked to Diagnostic Trajectory in Psychiatric Disorders

Researchers in JAMA Psychiatry find ties between high or low family genetic risk scores and diagnostic stability or change in four major psychiatric disorders over time.

Study Questions Existence of Fetal Microbiome

A study appearing in Nature this week suggests that the reported fetal microbiome might be the result of sample contamination.

Fruit Fly Study Explores Gut Microbiome Effects on Circadian Rhythm

With gut microbiome and gene expression experiments, researchers in PNAS see signs that the microbiome contributes to circadian rhythm synchronicity and stability in fruit flies.