The DNA message

You probably know that DNA carries the most invaluable information, without which the mere existence of life is impossible. Have you ever wondered whether DNA can be used to store more than just the genetic information? If you had thought of it before, you are not alone(!!!!!!).

A group of Japanese Molecular Biologists in Institute for Advanced Biosciences at Keio University decided to (nearly) immortalize Albert Einstein's magical formula E=mc^2 in the DNA of a bacterium.

DNA is a thread like molecule made of 4 different compounds (represented as A, G, C and T) as building blocks. The sequence of these 4 compounds in the DNA holds the genetic information. The Japanese scientists attempted to translate the formula (along with the year of its discovery, "1905") into binary code. This code was then translated into a language that has A, G, C and T as its 4 alphabets. For example, the binary code '0000' was translated into 'AA' and '0001' was indicated as 'CA'. Once the formula was translated into DNA's language (A,G, C and T), the new sequence obtained was inserted into a bacterial DNA and stored for eternity.

The objective here, was probably to preserve 'the most important formula of 21st century'. Since the genetic information had survived for over 3.5 billion years, DNA was the obvious choice. With the ability to survive in extremely hostile environmental conditions, the harmless soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis was a suitable candidate as the carrier of the "DNA-time capsule".

I hope that these efforts prove successful and Einstein's legacy (E=mc^2) lives on long after the demise of human kind on this planet.

Hmmmm....... I wonder what role the seemingly harmless equation E=mc^2 will play in the extinction of human population!

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