- Instead of using the four nitrogenous bases of DNA, in this study the researchers used three monomers . Two of these monomers represent the binary code numbers 0 and 1, and can be used interchangeably during synthesis. A third nitroxide monomer was inserted between the bits in order to facilitate the writing and reading of the coded sequence.
- A short binary message is synthesized by hand, monomer by monomer on a growing chain. The operation takes approximately a day, but should be quicker once automated. Decoding is done by sequencing, in the same way that DNA has been decoded for decades. A mass spectrometer thus takes less than five minutes to decipher the information—a duration also destined to be reduced in the short term.
- The team hopes to store messages of a few kilobytes or even megabytes within 3 to 5 years. This technique, patented by the CNRS, also makes it possible to develop molecular barcodes in the short term. Sequences could provide labeling that would be extremely difficult to falsify, ideal for high value-added products such as luxury goods and medicine.
World’s first digitally-encoded synthetic polymers
6. 5. 15 by Alex Klokus