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Multiplex recording of cellular events over time on CRISPR biological tape

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Science  23 Nov 2017:
eaao0958
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0958

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Abstract

While dynamics underlie many biological processes, our ability to robustly and accurately profile time-varying biological signals and regulatory programs remains limited. Here, we describe a framework to store temporal biological information directly into the genomes of a cell population. A “biological tape recorder” is developed in which biological signals trigger intracellular DNA production that is then recorded by the CRISPR-Cas adaptation system. This approach enables stable recording over multiple days and accurate reconstruction of temporal and lineage information by sequencing CRISPR arrays. We further demonstrate a multiplexing strategy to simultaneously record the temporal availability of three metabolites (copper, trehalose, fucose) in the environment of a cell population over time. This work enables the temporal measurement of dynamic cellular states and environmental changes and suggests new applications for chronicling biological events on a large scale.

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