The world’s smallest tape recorder was made with the help of a modified gut bacteria. Columbia University Herbert and Florence Irving Medical Center researchers were able to alter gut bacteria and transform it into the smallest data recorder ever. A study paper was released in the journal Science.
Gut Bacteria and Its Unexpected Transformation
The study team used molecular manipulation to modify a laboratory strain of the Escherichia Coli. Researchers were able to make the bacteria time-stamp what it observes. It also became capable of recording the interaction it has with the environment. This type of technology can help with disease diagnosis thanks to its monitoring the environment with a minimal invasion Even invisible changes can be monitored without disrupting the surroundings.
“Such bacteria, swallowed by a patient, might be able to record the changes they experience through the whole digestive tract,” mentioned the senior author of the study, Harris Wang.
The scientists stated that this modified gut bacteria could record everything that happens in the digestive tract, even up to details. This could be a great change in disease diagnosis. Until now, this phenomenon was impossible.
This ability was introduced through the immune system of the gut bacteria. Scientists mentioned that CRISPR-Cas response of the gut bacteria’s immune system was used for the data recorder.
CRISPR-Cas can help the body document pathogen attacks which happened in the past. It is both effective and non-invasive. Scientists consider that CRISPR is still at its beginning. Despite this fact, or perhaps because of this, more and more researchers are interested in this type of therapy.
Scientists are trying to develop methods that will allow them to make certain modifications to the genome of animals. Through them, they are hoping to get rid of diseases. If animal trials are proven successful, a human one could be the next step. The CRISPR therapy could record every past attack and also help the body prepare itself and respond faster in case of a new one.
The CRISPR-Cas system is a natural biological memory device,” states Wang.
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