Plastic Bunny 3D Printed From Its Own DNA
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Plastic Bunny 3D Printed From Its Own DNA

[♩INTRO] This might look like an ordinary 3D printed
plastic bunny. But unlike most figurines, it contains the
DNA blueprints for its own creation. If you clip off a tiny piece of its ear, you
can sequence that DNA and obtain the plans you need to print another
bunny. It’s a new way of storing information. Or, I guess, a new twist on an old way. The research team that created it call it
the “DNA of Things”: digital data gets encoded into DNA molecules which are then embedded into larger physical
objects. And they think it could change the way we
transmit and store information. It’s well established that DNA can store
lots of information in small packages after all, each of your cells, which are pretty
tiny, contains the blueprints for an entire human. And scientists have figured out how to tap
into this data-storing power. They can convert the ones and zeros of digital
information into the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs of DNA. And that lets them store information in a
ridiculously tiny amount of space. We’re talking about up to two hundred fifteen
petabytes per gram of DNA. That’s two hundred fifteen with fifteen
zeros on the end. Plus, unlike a computer chip, this information
can be stored in pretty much any shape. That’s what really excited the research
group behind the bunny, which was part of a paper published this week
in Nature Biotechnology. The team first figured out how to put designed
DNA molecules into tiny glass beads so they could withstand
high temperatures and many of the chemical reactions that can
damage DNA. Then, they put those beads into a kind of
plastic that can be used in 3D printing. And here’s where the research group got
real clever. Since the blueprints for 3D printed objects
are digital files, they decided to embed the plans for an object
in the object itself. The research team took the files for a 3D
printed bunny and encoded them into a DNA sequence. They then inserted many copies of that DNA
into silica beads, and then added those beads to the plastic
material that was used to print the bunny. The end product was a plastic bunny that contains
the instructions for making itself. Just like we do! …not exactly like we do. And the researchers demonstrated that it retains
that information over time. They clipped one one hundredth of a gram of
material from the bunny’s ear and ran it through a DNA sequencer to decode
the plans. Then, they used those plans to print another
bunny. They successfully repeated this process of
printing and recovering DNA four times. They even waited nine months after printing
the fourth copy of the bunny before extracting its DNA, and they still
got enough data to make a fifth copy. Now, it’s not hard to imagine using this
kind of technology to hide secret messages, like in a spy movie. After all, to the naked eye, you can’t tell
that the bunny figurine is different from any other. And to take this secret data idea one step
further, the group encoded a two-minute long YouTube
video in some DNA beads, and then added them to a kind of plexiglass
to make a pair of lenses. WHICH I’M WEARING RIGHT NOW. I’m not. That was a lie. But they did put the lenses in an ordinary
frame, and it looked like a regular old pair of glasses. But this tech isn’t just for covert ops. The researchers hope it can prove useful in
all sorts of ways. Like, building relevant medical records into
a pacemaker or other implant, so they’re accessible years or decades down
the line even if the electronic records are lost. The method could even be used to build self-replicating
machines. Though, we’re not quite there yet, since
the bunny would need to have a built-in sequencer and also, the plans for
a 3D printer in its DNA, as well. Speaking of self-replication, though researchers may have found a new, low maintenance
way to prevent pregnancy. In a study published in Science Translational
Medicine, the MIT-based team unveiled a new once a month
birth control pill. Oral contraceptives or “birth control pills”
are great in many ways. You can administer them yourself in the privacy
of your own home. And they’re accessible to people in areas
where doctors trained to implant long-term contraceptive devices
are too few and far between or cost too much. The trick is that for them to be most effective, you have to stick to a strict daily schedule. And humans aren’t always great at that. So scientists wondered if they could design
a pill that you’d only need to take once a month, as fewer pills generally means
better adherence to the regimen. The challenge was to design something that
didn’t immediately pass through the gut and that would maintain consistent drug levels
for at least three weeks. The first part was accomplished by creating
a foldable device that fits in a gel capsule. After the pill is swallowed, the stomach acid
dissolve the capsule, allowing the device to unfold into an asterisk-like
shape with a width of about 5.5 centimeters—too
big to pass into the intestines. As for delivering drugs, the device is made
with a special digestion-resistant silicone and loaded with
the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel. So, in theory, it should act kind of like
an implanted device, and slowly release the hormone over time. In theory doesn’t really matter as much
as in practice, though, so the team ran a trial in pigs. They compared two different formulations of
the device to a typical daily birth control pill. And, as expected, the daily pill created a
quick hormone spike that lasted less than 48 hours. But the better of the two slow-release devices
kept the hormone level elevated for weeks. Plus, the devices themselves stayed in the
pigs’ stomachs as planned. That doesn’t mean this monthly birth control
is ready for people, though. The researchers only measured the presence
of the drug, not its ability to prevent pregnancy. That’s what they plan to look at next as well as how to get the device out when
the month is over, because apparently they have not figured that
out yet and it seems important. So, obviously, follow up studies are needed
before this kind of pill can be tried in humans. But if it does pan out, it could make birth
control more accessible, especially in places where implantable devices
are hard to come by for economic or cultural reasons. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
News! To keep up to date on the latest developments
in science, be sure to tune in right here every Friday. Or, click that subscribe button, and you’ll
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feed! [♩OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “Plastic Bunny 3D Printed From Its Own DNA

  1. "If you clip off a tiny piece of it's ear you can sequence that DNA to OBTAIN THE PLANS YOU NEED TO PRINT ANOTHER BUNNY"- Hank 2019

  2. They should put a double layer on the pill coating. The outer layer dissolves the existing device and dissipates before the inner shell releases the new one. Or just do timed dissolve on the device, although that would be hard to calibrate.

  3. The thing that bothers me with the DNA of things is that it requires expensive DNA sequencing to copy the object. I'd rather have a less replicated chip or highly replicated visible etching

  4. You either wore a hat on this day, took a nap, or rested your head on something… you faver your right side… your hair cut is different… shorter on the top…could be a messed up hair cut and your remolino is on the right like most peoples is… sorry for the spanish…couldnt think of the English word and I've had a few…

  5. Young men should ''man-up'' and get a (reversible when planning their family) vasectomy! Best decision I ever made when I had mine at age 20.

  6. Imagine in 100 years, being able to take your broken old plastic bunny, stick it into a machine, the machine reads the DNA, and spits out a new one. Or whatever plastic item you've been using. And then it recycles the old plastic. That'd be cool.

  7. Is the birth control for men or women? It'd be interesting to see them try to get a new drug passed considering the last new drug in xy's was shot down for having the same side-effects as the xx version…

  8. This is more like a virus that has to infect both the printer and the plastic filament. You could use the filament to make *anything*, not just a bunny, and the object would still have the instructions for the bunny. I'd be more impressed by a 3d-printing program that would embed a copy of itself and a description of the object printed in the object; this would be like embedding the original source code and the compiler source code in an executable program. Of course, this would still lack the DNA sequencer, so ….

  9. I've always found how much handholding there is regarding oral contraceptives a bit weird. Maybe it's just because I have a handful of different meds to take every single morning that an extra pill isn't that big of a deal. I get in the two hour window every single time, because I'm a wreck without my ADHD meds. I'd probably end up forgetting a monthly pill. I mean, I understand how it's important for other people, but I also have a weird sense of pride that for basically every other medicine they had you an orange bottle and tell you good luck, while oral contraceptives come in these fancy blister packs that remind you if you've taken one each day.

  10. Hank's a capable host, but I was a bit bothered to have him, and not one of the capable women, talking about a birth control pill. It's not that the information imparted would have differed, but it struck me as not entirely appropriate.

  11. I'm sorta wondering about the asterisk like silicone caltrops potentially clogging the access to the small intestine…

  12. Your calendar starts the week at Sunday. Which made me think about: if Americans start their weeks on Sunday, do you still call it "weekend", or is that Fri-Sat?

  13. It dont seem so bad. I mean after only one year you would only have 12 used up devices still stuck in the gut. What could that possibly harm?

  14. Unfortunately even just having to pop a birth control pill once a month will require too much processing power for ditzy blondes to manage without being absentminded & thus getting knocked up.

  15. If women and men both had prescription contraceptives there would be nearly 0 unexpected pregnancies. It would significantly help the world overpopulation issue.

  16. I could see some corporate espionage stuff happening where someone slips the blueprints of a car or access keys of an OS into a shipped product.

    It’s only useful if people think to DNA test the plastic of their GPS so only the company on the receiving end of the leak would find it.

  17. Yay, now we can have any information hidden in real objects! So now government agencies will be able to track where you got things! And even full secret documents that people can carry with them! Hidden within any object ….

  18. So now all of our Hard-drives are now outdated… and now we can create a near infinite data system. So I can put the entire internet/human language/ culture/ design of everything/ images in possible a signal strand of DNA.

  19. So the DNA tech could be used to create real life replicants, that could in future build or rather replicate and quite possible even design by themselves (AS LONG AS WE GIVE THEM AN AI) entire cities!

  20. A few years ago I had this thought of storing data in some DNA kind, it's nice to see we are still on track for smaller and better storage!

  21. I wonder how many other people clicked on this video because they thought that science had finally been able to somehow translate the genotype of an organism into it's phenotype and then 3d print a facsimile of it?

  22. So okay, DNA is synthesized to encode data and put into nano glas beads.
    This by itself is very impressive since this is about controlling complex chemical reactions to form a strand of molecules.
    But how is the information extracted again? If the DNA is embedded in glas, how is it "read"?

    And thanks for the links but the details are hidden behind a paywall.

  23. 3:46 Prevent pregnancy: Tell your wife you made a plastic bunny with DNA.
    100% success rate

    But srsly. I take meds 3 times a day and its easy not to forget. Once a month… Id forget it so often!!!

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