Capturing 2D Light Patterns Into DNA To Integrate Biological Systems Into a Living Digital Camera


A technical paper titled “A biological camera that captures and stores images directly into DNA” was published by researchers at National University of Singapore.


“The increasing integration between biological and digital interfaces has led to heightened interest in utilizing biological materials to store digital data, with the most promising one involving the storage of data within defined sequences of DNA that are created by de novo DNA synthesis. However, there is a lack of methods that can obviate the need for de novo DNA synthesis, which tends to be costly and inefficient. Here, in this work, we detail a method of capturing 2-dimensional light patterns into DNA, by utilizing optogenetic circuits to record light exposure into DNA, encoding spatial locations with barcoding, and retrieving stored images via high-throughput next-generation sequencing. We demonstrate the encoding of multiple images into DNA, totaling 1152 bits, selective image retrieval, as well as robustness to drying, heat and UV. We also demonstrate successful multiplexing using multiple wavelengths of light, capturing 2 different images simultaneously using red and blue light. This work thus establishes a ‘living digital camera’, paving the way towards integrating biological systems with digital devices.”

Find the technical paper here. Published: July 2023.

Lim, C.K., Yeoh, J.W., Kunartama, A.A. et al. A biological camera that captures and stores images directly into DNA. Nat Commun 14, 3921 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-38876-w

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