Scientists have successfully encoded a short film on the DNA of a living cell and recovered it later. The experiment, which was described Tuesday in Nature, could pave the way for engineered cells that record and store data.
This is a big deal: DNA is stable, small, requires little energy to maintain and can hold a lot of information. This study shows that not only can complex data be stored on DNA, it can be stored in a living cell and recovered generations later.
But it's more than that: To rebuild a GIF, data needs to be stored with some sort of chronology. The scientists hijacked a system the bacteria themselves use to record information.