As if the world weren’t already on the brink of destruction, scientists have just perfected a way to embed awful movies into the DNA of bacteria, in today’s news that we swear we’re not making up.
According to engineering organization IEEE, scientific researchers have developed the technology to embed movie clips in bacterial DNA:
“To get a movie into E. coli’s DNA, (neuroscientist Seth) Shipman and his colleagues had to disguise it. They converted the movie’s pixels into DNA’s four-letter code—molecules represented by the letters A,T,G and C—and synthesized that DNA. But instead of generating one long strand of code, they arranged it, along with other genetic elements, into short segments that looked like fragments of viral DNA.
E. coli is naturally programmed by its own DNA to grab errant pieces of viral DNA and store them in its own genome—a way of keeping a chronological record of invaders. So when the researchers introduced the pieces of movie-turned-synthetic DNA—disguised as viral DNA—E. coli’s molecular machinery grabbed them and filed them away.”
A gif illustrates that, despite some compression artifacts, film can be archived in DNA and later extracted to play back the movie perfectly:
Though the scientists used a clip of one of the first moving images ever recorded, there’s theoretically no limitations to what they could encode. But could this exciting new technology have a more sinister application? For more on this, we spoke to Lead Genealogist at the University of Phoenix and totally real person, Professor Thaddeus T. Puffinbottoms.
“The government has been looking for ways to weaponize bad movies for decades, and this could be just the opportunity they were waiting for,” Professor Puffinbottoms explained. “Just think about the damage that could be inflicted on an unsuspecting population if a strain of bacteria were released into the wild with, for instance, the entirety of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice encoded in its DNA. Losses to brain cells would be catastrophic.”
Puffinbottoms went on to name other terrible movies that could be embedded in DNA and unleashed on the public. “Man of Steel. Suicide Squad. They aren’t limited to bad DCEU movies, either, even though they’d obviously be the most effective. You could put Michael Bay‘s entire Transformers franchise into bacteria and overload people’s immune systems.”
As a potential side effect, Puffinbottoms warned that the bacteria could mutate, producing new strains of deadly bacteria containing brand new franchise installments. “In addition to wiping out 80% of the population, think about what it would do to box office sales,” the Professor added.
At press time, there was no evidence that scientists intended to use bacteria infused with copies of M. Night Shyamalan’s Split to inflict enormous casualties on the human race, but there was technically no evidence they weren’t planning to do that, either. We’ll keep you posted.