Scientists have encoded moving pictures into DNA for the first time.
Researchers at Harvard University in America used gene editing technology known as Crispr to encode frames from a 1870s sequence of photos of a race horse running into the DNA of bacteria.
The five frames were used a create a GIF - a moving image of the stills - which they were able to reconstruct with 90% accuracy by sequencing the bacterial DNA.
The researchers say the results show the potential for storing complex data in DNA.
"We found that we could hijack the (Crispr) system and have it acquire sequences that we provided," said Seth Shipman, Ph.D., who worked on the study.
"We can use that to generate what we call molecular records, or recordings, into the genome of a living bacteria.
"In order to put constraints on the sequences, we had them contain information and the information we used was images. So we used static images and then we used moving images which we delivered over time to living bacteria, and then we were able to sequence those bacteria and reconstruct the image.
The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature.
“This groundbreaking technology advances the field of DNA-based information storage by leveraging the biological machinery of living cells to record, archive and propagate that information, in addition to potentially providing a new way to study dynamic biological and developmental processes inside the living body," said Wyss Institute Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D.