The promise of using DNA as storage means you could conceivably save every photo you’ve ever taken, your entire iTunes library, and all 839 episodes of Doctor Who in a tiny molecule invisible to the naked eye—with plenty of room to spare.
But what if you could keep all that digital information on you at all times, even embedded in your skin? Harvard University geneticist George Church and his team think it might be possible one day.
They’ve used the gene-editing system CRISPR to insert a short animated image, or GIF, into the genomes of living Escherichia coli bacteria. The researchers converted the individual pixels of each image into nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA.