just fantastic

It is called “the xenotext experiment”. I discovered it from a twit! I really enjoyed the idea and  fantastically enough I never thought this could be possible. What a great idea!

The text is written by Dr Christian Bök.

Enjoy ….

“Thinkers as diverse as Pak Wong, a cybernetic expert, Eduardo Kac,a multimedia artist, and Paul Davies, an astronomic expert, have begun to speculate that even now scientists might store data by encoding textual information into genetic nucleotides, thereby creating “messages” made from DNA – messages that we can then implant, like genes, inside cells, where such messages persist, undamaged and unaltered, through myriad cycles of mitosis, all the while preserved for later recovery and decoding.

Wong, for example, has enciphered the lyrics to “It’s a Small World After All,” storing this text as a strand of DNA inside Deinococcus radiodurans – a bacterium resistant to inhospitable environments. Wong argues that, in a world of fragile media with limited space for storage, DNA might permit us to preserve our cultural heritage against planetary disasters: “organisms…on Earth for hundreds of millions of years represent excellent candidates for protecting critical information for future generations.”

Kac has also used a genetic process of encipherment in his artwork called Genesis – a project intended to show that “biological processes are now writerly.”Kac encodes a short verse from the Bible into a strand of DNA, which he then inserts into a microbe, exposing the germ to doses of mutagenic radiation. Kac suggests that, by “editing” such a text through mutation, we can foster an unguided, aleatory message in a more innovative form, rather than accept the dominant, biblical passage in its last inherited form.

Davies has gone so far as to propose an extravagant speculation, suggesting that, instead of sustaining a radio beacon through many millennia, or instead of projecting a large vessel across vast distances, aliens wishing to communicate with us might have already encoded messages in DNA, sending out legions of small, cheap envoys – self-maintaining, self-replicating machines that perpetuate their data over eons in the face of unknown hazards: “fortunately, such machines already exist” – and “they are called living cells.”

the whole document can be found here. editorial or visit http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script-ed/vol5-2/editorial.asp


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