Scientists from Harvard Medical School in Boston successfully created
cellular recording systems that are capable of encoding a series of events
in a cell using the CRISPR-Cas system.
Seth Shipman and colleagues designed a system called CRISPR clips, which
used the ability to capture DNA fragments from invading viruses and store
them in an organized array in the host genome. In nature, the DNA fragments
target an enzyme to slice up the invader's DNA. In CRISPR clips, the parts
of the DNA corresponded to pixels in an image. They encoded the shading of
each pixel, together with a barcode that dictates its location in the image,
into 33 DNA letters. Each frame of the clip is composed of 104 of these DNA
This breakthrough could lead to the use of arrays to monitor gene expression
without cracking cells open to remove their RNA.