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Biotech Science

Encoding Messages In Bacteria 52

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have invented a new form of secret messaging using bacteria that make glowing proteins only under certain conditions. In addition to being useful to spies, the new technique could also allow companies to encode secret identifiers into crops, seeds, or other living commodities."
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Encoding Messages In Bacteria

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  • by arielCo ( 995647 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @05:37PM (#37546442)

    Yeah baby, watermarking seeds. Mmmm ...

    And what's the insight offered by a random scientist on this?

    "It's a really cool idea," says Kenneth Suslick, a chemist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

  • by srmalloy ( 263556 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @05:43PM (#37546490) Homepage

    "Your honor, we present this genetic analysis of the defendant's grain crop. If I may direct the court's attention to this particular DNA sequence? This is an intron -- a non-functional section of DNA -- specifically inserted by Monsanto. Using the following encoding system, the base sequence of the intron codes for the string "Patent 12,343,253 Monsanto Corp. 2015". As the defendant has not bought seed from Monsanto for five years, he would not have been able to harvest our patented strain of grain unless he had retained grain from previous harvests to replant, which is a direct violation of the contract he signed when he last purchased Monsanto seed grain."

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken