A student has injected himself with the Book of Genesis and the surah Ar-Ra’d (part of the Qur'an) because he "wondered whether it would be possible".
Adrien Locatelli, a high school student in Grenoble, France, decided to inject himself with several religious texts.
"Recent studies have reported that it is possible to convert any type of information into DNA for the purpose of storage," he wrote, publishing his initial results on the Open Science Framework.
"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."
Being somewhat short of volunteers, the young biohacker used himself as a subject, noting "I am the only subject of this study and I gave my informed consent". Performing the experiment entirely by himself, he first downloaded copies of the Book of Genesis and the Qur'an from the Internet.
From the Book of Genesis he took Gn1,1 to Gn11,9 excluding Gn2,10 to 2,14, Gn5 and Gn7,1 to 7,5 because "these are controversial passages".
Adrien then replaced every Hebrew character in the Book of Genesis passages and Arabic letters in the surah Ar-Ra’d and replaced them with assigned nucleotides (building blocks of DNA or RNA), ignoring any spaces and punctuation. I.e., each letter would be represented by a corresponding nucleotide, which was then used to create a DNA sequence out of the texts.
He then used ExPASy Translate, an online tool that allows the translation of a nucleotide sequence into a protein sequence. He could then create a protein sequence to make an injectable copy of his passages.
"With more than 5 amino acids," he wrote, "I obtained the protein : >MT59 MSRERRVESEEEHDRYMRGRNENDRRDECVEKCSGTRTTTEERSATERRETRRMTREAT [I] synthesized the central part of this peptide with a disulfide bond connecting the 2 cysteines : >RS27 12-16 RGRNENDRRDECVEKCSGTRTTTEERS," which he then injected into his thighs.
Rather than burn up like some sort of vampire touching a cross, Adrien received very little adverse reaction to the injection of the religious texts. His left thigh had a minor inflammation for a few days, whilst his right thigh had no reaction at all.
"It is the first time that someone injects himself [with] macromolecules developed from a text," he notes in his discussion. "It is very symbolic even if it does not have much interest."
Though he safely conducted this unique experiment, we wouldn't recommend you try it at home with your own favorite bible passages. At best you'll get no reaction whatsoever (you aren't going to turn into Jesus, or even the Pope), and at worst you'll give an especially inquisitive mortician something interesting to read.