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  • Hubert Marlin

DNA and Espionage


Science has become a danger that the ignorance of the profane increases tenfold. Scientists and those who employ them in the age of hyper technology, arrogate a boulevard of libertine possibilities, which is matched only by the passivity of the repressive ignorance of the world populace, the majority of whom live in a world where they do not master the ins and outs. The brutal awakening of some, when they find themselves confronted with perilous situations in which ignorance has plunged them is often quickly forgotten by the vast majority, who think that disappointments only happen to others. DNA, the gateway to our genetic code, which we deposit wherever we go, either by our touch, our saliva, our hair, our sweat ...; is becoming a Pandora box.

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, a graduate of New York University, used DNA "found here and there" on pieces of chewing gum, cigarette butts or locks of hair, and sequenced them to create masks designed to look like people who had left their DNA in public places. The work of the American artist was intended to draw the public's attention to the dangers of the involuntary dispersal of DNA traces of individuals, and since then she proposes disguising the DNA of individuals by mixing it with other DNAs of animals or humans’ origin, to make them untraceable.

Apart from the medical or affiliative use, DNA since has more than large applications. A company called "PooPrints" based in the United States began to offer a service in which it sequences the DNA of dog feces, whose owners did not see fit to pick up after their best friends which had fulfilled their physiological needs in public areas.

Dog feces after DNA sequencing, allow to paint the portrait of the dogs and lead to their owners. If finding the dogs and their owner helps some municipalities to repress unscrupulous users, it is no less worrying to know that the same applications can be made with human DNA. in the annals of justice, there are more and more cases of DNA presence of perfectly innocent peoples in places of crime.

According to the information revealed by Wikileaks on November 28, 2010. In July 2009, a confidential cable from the US State Department that was under the thumb of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ordered American diplomats to spy on Ban Ki-moon, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as other senior UN officials. US diplomats were ordered to collect biometric information that apparently included DNA, fingerprints, iris prints, records, passwords, and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial communications networks. If one does not have a clear idea of what this stolen information would have been useful for, it should be said that, apart from the theft of data, traces of DNA could as well have been used to blackmail United Nations officials to use their position to influence some

decisions for the benefit of the United States. If the DNA samples of the United Nations Secretary were to be found in a crime scene, introduced in a criminal way, and that one asked him to influence the UN policy in delicate files, It's a safe bet to comprehend that to silence the scandal he would probably have obeyed. At least, that type serious accusations would probably have led to his loss of credibility. Apart from applications that cast a dangerous shadow in the manipulation of DNA for zany purposes, it is still true that the DNA structure has uses that are proving increasingly interesting in classic spying. American scientists have recently developed a way to use the genetic code (DNA) as a code of espionage to transfer information in secret. Since there are only four chemical letters in the DNA code, A (adenine), T (thymine), G (guanine) and C (cytosine) and 26 letters in the Alphabet several DNA letters are assigned for each English letter, e.g. ATG in the DNA could represent H in English. Using genetic engineering techniques, the bio-technician unites all the DNA sequences that a respectable spy might want. The spy then carries the message in a form impossible for the enemy to read, then reads and decodes the message when it reaches its destination. The DNA coated on the paper will survive long enough to be transported to a place where it can be analyzed. The message can be disguised by mixing it with DNA strands obtained from living cells. Thus, if the message falls into the wrong hands, it would be difficult to know which DNA thread contains the message, besides knowing which key was used to encrypt the text.

One of the current areas of research in the scientific and military arena is the development of micro-air vehicles (MAV) objects intended to go to places that cannot be reached (safely) by humans or other types of equipment. One of the main military applications envisaged for MAVs is intelligence gathering (through the clandestine use of mini cameras, microphones or other types of sensors); Among the most extreme applications of these devices is the possible use of "swarm" type weapons that could be launched against enemy forces. Also, according to some information, remote-controlled insect-sized spy drones equipped with a camera and a microphone, could land on peoples and potentially take DNA samples, at worst insert under their skin, with a sting, a nanotechnology chip that would spy on them.

Biotechnology interest more and more interest classical computer science companies, in a kind of hybridization. Also, DNA seems to be finding important applications in data storage. The storage of DNA data involves the translation of the 0 and 1 bits of digital data into sequences of the four bases A, C, G and T that make up the DNA. The coded sequences are synthesized and stored in flasks. A DNA sequencing machine then decodes the data by retrieving the sequences of the DNA molecules.

In an article published in 2016 in the journal BioMed Research International, researchers found that DNA can store information for a longer time, up to about 425,000 years, while requiring much less energy and lower temperatures than conventional hard drives. Hundreds of megabytes of data have been encoded by DNA in recent years by scientists. But more recently, not only have the media been perfectly stored in the synthetic variant of the genetic instructions that make up the whole organic life, but the archived data files have also been recovered individually without error. And this thanks to the advance research scientists from the University of Washington and Microsoft, which announces for 2020 the establishment of a data center based on DNA, titled NAM, (nucleic acid memory) in its cloud.

In the years to come some individuals will probably be able to sell, or be robbed of some samples of their DNA, in the design to transform them into nucleic acid memory. Unless, the hundreds of thousands of people who voluntarily provide samples of their DNA to companies for the purpose of researching their ancestral lineages become themselves products of consumption whose genetic data could even be pirated by cyber criminals.

DNA used as synthetic memory would store all the world's movies in a storage device no bigger than a cube of sugar, and one could store all the information of the world in a shoe box. Scientists are no longer working "only" with four nucleotide bases, namely A, G, C and T, but with a new six-nucleotide DNA, which has additional X and Y nucleotides. This could in the long run, help to store probably all the information in the world on a device no bigger than a grain of sand and have space remaining.

Organic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is encountered studying the genes that make up living organisms. Large amounts of information are stored there for a long time. A 45,000-year-old human femur was sequenced or decoded a few years ago. Synthetic DNA in the other part, is an attractive storage medium because it can theoretically store 10 million times more data than magnetic tape in the same volume and survives for hundreds of thousands of years. Ultimately, if in general men deposit their DNA wherever they go, it is also true that social life usually easily corrupts this DNA by the DNA of other humans or even animals. e.g. After drinking in a glass, the latter would have to be picked up by a waitress or waiter who in turn would deposit his DNA as well as those responsible for washing dishes. If, in general, human interaction helps to mask individual DNAs, this is not the case when someone expressly have its DNA samples taken, or when forced by the police, to submit DNA samples even during routine checks. In the United States from now on a law gives the right to the police to take the DNA samples on peoples suspected in a crime.

Once these DNAs are collected they are stored in databases, and users who claim to have their human genome deleted from these databases have rarely been successful.

DNA sequencing of individuals when stored in public or even in private data banks contains vital information that can be used against individuals. There are more and more cases where the presence of certain genes in the DNA of individuals has prevented them from having access to jobs or even elective mandates. During an election campaign when opposing teams discover that their challenger has genes that could allow him to develop a disease like Alzheimer's they do not hesitate often to use this information for their political gain. True vanity is the pride of science, as long as some believe that we must do what is possible even if it goes against the moral, the world as we’ve been knowing it for thousands of years, will always be an entity threatened with extinction, and this in a sustainable way. Read more at www.flashmag.net

Hubert Marlin Journalist


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