Photo Credit: The Scientist
Adrian Locatelli, high-school student and biohacker from Grenoble in France, translated religious passages into DNA code to build unknown proteins. He then injected these proteins into his body in a risky experiment, which was the first of its kind according to him, in order to find out whether it would be possible to do such a thing. He converted letters from the holy books into a DNA sequence which he poured into his body risking potentially fatal consequences because he lacked knowledge about the effects the proteins would have on his body.
Adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine are nucleobases in the nucleic acid of DNA and they are represented by the letters A, C, G and T. There is a precise order of nucleobases in every gene's structure and this order could also be represented by letters. Locatelli replaced every Hebrew character in the Book of Genesis with DNA code, excluding 2:10 to 2:14, 5, and 7:1 to 7:5 because they were "controversial,” going in the order of GACT. And he also replaced every Arabic letters from the 13th chapter from the Koran (the Surah Ar-Ra'd) with assigned nucleotides. He then used the sequences of DNA letters to convert into chemical chains which he used to build the proteins in a lab before injecting himself with them.
According to The Sun, when Locatelli published his article online, he wrote: "Recent studies have reported that it is possible to convert any type of information into DNA for the purpose of storage. Since it is possible to convert digital information into DNA, I wondered whether it would be possible to convert a religious text into DNA and to inject it in a living being. It is the first time that someone injects himself [with] macromolecules developed from a text. It is very symbolic even if it does not have much interest."
Reaction to this crazy experiment has shocked people online with many users branding the teen an "idiot" and warning others against following similar tests. IFL Science reports: Isaac Stoner, founder of a company researching antibiotic resistance, wrote on Twitter: "Dear biohackers etc. Please stop. You are idiots." The reactions were this harsh because injecting unknown proteins into the body could have serious side-effects. Luckily for Locatelli, despite the endless list of potential side-effects, he only suffered a swollen left leg for a few days after the injection, while his right leg had no reaction at all.