3D-printed plastic bunny contains its own blueprint coded in synthetic DNA

science dnastorage dsc
Snip off a piece of one of Erlich and Grass' 3D-printed rabbits, and you could make an exact copy by accessing the DNA interspersed in its plastic, where its blueprint is stored. Image: ETH Zurich

The kumquat-sized bunny, cute as it may be, isn’t a toy or a good luck charm. But if you cut off its foot, something miraculous might happen. From that severed piece, you could make more rabbits just like it.

It was 3D-printed in Switzerland, in the lab of [researcher Yaniv] Erlich’s ETH Zürich collaborator, Robert Grass. Embedded in the figurine’s polymer matrix are trillions of microscopic glass beads, each one enclosing a few dozen molecules of synthetic DNA. Encoded into this DNA is the digital blueprint for the bunny itself, the instructions that tell a 3D printer nozzle where to move and when to squeeze to make its four paws, two ears, and cottontail. Altogether, the bunny contains 370 million copies of the data file that describes its contours.

Related article:  Video: Tech guru and author Rob Reid on synthetic biology's power to help or destroy us

“Embedding information directly into materials would actually be a really useful thing to do,” says Microsoft senior scientist Karin Strauss, who leads research on molecular information systems and has worked with Darpa to build an image search engine out of DNA. QR codes can wear off. User manuals disappear. URLs change. DNA-based information that’s physically built into an object could offer more permanence.

Read full, original post: These Plastic Bunnies Got a DNA Upgrade. Next up, the World?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend