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Technology

The transfer of encrypted information via nucleic acids is achieved using a platform with two components: 1) an individualized keyboard (iKey) that translates plain text into DNA and 2) Multiplexed Sequence Encryption (MuSE), used to analyze multiple strands by nucleic acid sequencing using common primers. The iKey is a modified QWERTY keyboard with 64 keys, each of which corresponds to one of the 64 codons. The key assignments can be randomized for additional security. The iKey platform is used to generate multiple DNA strands, each of which encodes fragments of the entire message. The multiple nucleic acid strands are co-sequenced using two common primers (forward and reverse), the sequences of which can also be encrypted. Sequencing produces a visual representation of the DNA sample known as a chromatogram. The chromatogram is a series of peaks, each of which corresponds to one nucleotide. The DNA strands are aligned such that their corresponding peaks overlap. If the overlapping nucleotides are identical, they produce a large peak; if they do not match, they produce a small peak. This “chromatogram patterning” is unique and decipherable only to an authorized user. Multiplexed sequencing of different strand combinations produces different readouts; analyzing an incorrect combination of strands or a single strand would yield nonsense or a decoy message. The retrieval process takes minutes or hours to complete, depending on the length of the nucleic acid strands and the method of sequencing.