How cells behave during development, tumour formation and other disorders remains largely unclear—and so far, there is no technology to allow researchers to analyze cell behaviour in complex biological systems. To address this gap, Dr. Nozomu Yachie, Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology, is working on "DNA event recording" technologies. This research builds on the growing understanding that DNA has the potential to store vast amounts of information.
Yachie’s idea is to store cell data on synthetic "DNA tapes." Using this system, he and his research team can decipher historical information about single cells. Harnessing genome editing, cell engineering, mouse genetics and high-performance computing, they aim to establish “sense,” “write,” “store,” and “read” technologies to support the massive tracing of molecular and cellular dynamics in high-resolution. They hope to obtain a whole-body cell lineage and cell type differentiation map of mammalian development.