In DepthBiology

DNA printers poised to jump from paragraphs to pages

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Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 143
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6411.143

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The rate at which scientists can read DNA sequences has risen dramatically in recent years. But the speed at which they can write DNA hasn't kept pace. That may soon change. Researchers from a French biotech company reported last week that by using close relatives of the DNA-writing enzymes at work in living cells, they can build DNA strands as long as 150 "letters," or nucleotide bases. That's up from 50 nucleotides just a few months ago, and nearly on par with the standard chemical approach to writing DNA that has been around for decades. With numerous companies and academic groups aiming to further improve the technology, experts expect the new enzymatic approach to writing DNA to continue to improve steadily. That's likely to drop prices for made-to-order DNA strands and turbocharge research in synthetic biology and efforts to archive data in DNA.