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Monitoring the development of a tumour using the memory of bacteria

[24-02-2020]

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have discovered how certain proteins keep a bacterium's memory up to date. This is essential for bacteria, since their  memory protects them from attacks by bacteriophages, their natural enemies. It is also interesting for us humans, since the system can be converted into a 'DNA recorder': a kind of biological logbook that keeps track of what happens in a cell. Such a DNA recorder could, for instance, be used to monitor how a tumour develops over time. The first DNA recorders have already been built, but they are inefficient and do not work in human cells. The new fundamental knowledge of bacterial memory formation gained by the Delft researchers can be used to develop the next generation of DNA recorders.

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