Back 2021.07.05

Lithuanian National Anthem is now in the DNA molecule

On 6 July, the Statehood Day (Coronation of King Mindaugas), Lithuanians around the world sing the national anthem. The idea of “National anthem across the globe” is simple as that: if you feel Lithuania is your homeland, on the day of Statehood at 9 pm stop for a moment and pay respect. Lithuanian National Anthem will travel the world from mouth to mouth along with the light from Australia to Hawaii, being sung in Lithuanian communities and individually.

A simple act of singing National Anthem at the same time turned into unique nations’ tradition, followed by other creative initiatives – for example, Lithuanian National Anthem is a DNA molecule.

Methods for placing digital information into DNA molecules represents a fast-growing field of biological and digital technology research. Lithuanian start-up Genomika that is working on DNA scanning methods has presented its new project on the occasion of the Statehood Day: the Lithuanian anthem has been recorded in a DNA molecule to be displayed at the Centre for Civil Education. The non-profit project aims to raise greater public awareness of synthetic biology.

The size of the Lithuanian anthem recorded in DNA in digital MP3 format is 661 kilobytes (kB). The anthem stored in the DNA molecule consists of 39.422 oligonucleotides that are 161 base pairs in length.

The project is ongoing: any visitor can send their regards and wishes to Lithuania on the Hymn DNA website. The site will immediately show you how your wishes are converted to binary and their structure when represented by the DNA code.

For the Statehood Day next year, Genomics will combine all these wishes into yet another DNA-protecting chain.

The start-up uses Oxford Nanopore sequencing technology and is one of the few in the world to retrieve digital information from a DNA chain.

Many scientists believe that storing digital information in DNA will be irreplaceable in the future: it is currently the most promising way to record huge amounts of data with minimal energy on ultra-compact media. Mind you, that data stored in DNA molecules can last hundreds of thousands of years.

Photo: Tautvydas Stukas