Could DNA be hacked, like software?

File:DNA simple.svg It’s already been done. As a language, DNA can carry malicious messages:

People often say that our genome is like a language. For example, a recent science paper explains that “genomes appear similar to natural language texts, and protein domains can be treated as analogs of words.” For that reason, DNA can be used to encode messages …

In August 2017, researchers announced that they had used DNA to encode malware to hack a computer program that reads genetic sequences: What the researchers did was to write a piece of attack software that, 37% of the time, survived translation from physical DNA to FASTQ, a digital storage format for DNA sequences and then could get into the computer’s memory and start running whatever it was coded to do. More.

That’s enough to cause a lot of trouble. The researchers did it as a test, to demonstrate that we need to be concerned about future developments in this area.

See also: How a computer programmer looks at DNA And finds it to be “amazing” code

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