Brainstorming Project Ideas
Information Storage Device
I was thinking a bit about information storage. There have been a whole slew of papers that suggest storing artificial messages in DNA. A few representative examples are
All of these works envision long-term storage where complicated cloning techniques with restriction enzymes, oligonucleotide synthesis or PCR, and ligation would be used for storage. I don't know much at all about this, but are there ways of making a storage device where it is moderately easy to change what is written in the memory? Basically designing some kind of encoder and decoder that makes DNA more of a rewritable medium rather than just a long-term storage medium. A related question is whether there might be a way to introduce an error-correcting circuit along the lines of
- M. G. Taylor, "Reliable information storage in memories designed from unreliable components," Bell Syst. Tech. J., vol. 47, no. 10, pp. 2299–2337, Dec. 1968.
There are probably more easily editable means of biological information storage that are more worthy of exploration.
- cookb: Hmm, that's an interesting idea and quite original for iGEM! I'm getting an image of some sort of simple physical signal (e.g., exposure to light) being converted into DNA information, sort of like a Morse code encoding words into DNA. I wonder what possible mechanisms one could use to facilitate that... But even encoding something simple like "Hello world" would be a huge deal, and have big ramifications on areas such as commercial gene synthesis.
Develop some sort of Kalman filter-like circuit or some other signal processing circuit to detect or track pathogens. The UCSF/UCB Center for Engineering Cellular Control Systems has started to look at some similar problems.