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“Molecular Recording: Capture and Storage of Data within the Genome of a Cell”

Seminar: BioE Seminars: Seminars of interest | March 21 | 12-1 p.m. | 106 Stanley Hall

Seth Shipman, Harvard Medical School

Bioengineering (BioE)

Experimental cell biology is limited by the requirement for direct observation or destructive analysis of the cells being studied. This is particularly problematic when studying a complex, developing system such as the brain. To circumvent this limitation, I have pursued a new approach: the logging of biological events as coded nucleotides, written into the genome of a living cell. These organized changes to genomic DNA can store data during an event of interest, to be collected later by sequencing. I will display a functional version of this approach in prokaryotes that uses the CRISPR-Cas adaptive immune system, and discuss opportunities to use this molecular recording system to understand neurodevelopment.