World’s Smallest Tape Recorder Is Alive

Scientists have converted a bunch of microbes into what they’ve dubbed the “world’s smallest tape recorder.” By tinkering with the genes of an ordinary laboratory strain of Escherichia coli bacteria, researchers say they’ve been able to coax the bacteria into not only logging their interactions with the environment but time-stamping these occurrences, as well.

These tiny “tape recorders”—which were detailed in a new study published Nov. 23 in the journal Science—can help underpin a new class of technologies that use bacterial cells to diagnose disease or monitor shifts in the environment, all without disturbing their surroundings.


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