NIAB has patent protection pending for a number of schemes for encoding non-genetic information into DNA. The patent describes four methods by which DNA can be made to hold information in a binary or other number base format as a DNA barcode.
Jonathan White, Head of NIABs Molecular and Genotyping Group said, "The encoding of non-genetic information has the overall major benefit of providing a means of ready identification and authentication of goods and organisms and is particularly relevant to the debate on GM crops."
"We can achieve encoding either directly, through the actual base sequence of the DNA, or indirectly, through the sizes of fragments generated from the DNA," he continued. "The patent also describes ways in which the encoded information can be compressed to save space and how error correction methods can be introduced."
"This is a very exciting development for us and we intend to exploit it through our molecular services. The patent describes a number of scenarios in which such an invention may be useful, as well as the GM traceability application. These include animal passports, tracing oil spills and authentication or counterfeit protection for items like designer clothes and banknotes," added Mr White.
Paul Nelson | alfa
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