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DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

For another paper in Science Advances, researchers at Tsinghua University and other centers in China present a "dual-plasmid"-based strategy for re-writing target DNA sequences for DNA storage — an approach they used to help store and re-write text from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in Escherichia coli . After using an encoding algorithm to put together the binary codes to store information digitally, the team explains, it re-wrote E. coli DNA with a "dual-plasmid" system that includes "info" and "help" plasmids containing the digital code with target sequence and gene editing-based tools, respectively, before turning to another info plasmid and decoding algorithm to retrieve the stored text from the rewritten bacterial sequence. The authors also tracked sequence processing with a fluorescent protein-based optical reporter assay, they note. "We developed an in vivo dual-plasmid system using a rational design of coding algorithm and an information editing tool," they write, calling the approach "suitable and universal for storing, rewriting, and reading various types of information, including text, codebook, and image."