In a groundbreaking application of computers to study biology in the 1960s, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developed a system called CYDAC for calculating the amount of DNA present in any given chromosome. Using electron microscope data, CYDAC could “see” each chromosome as 100,000 bits of information. It then compared the data with that of healthy chromosomes and reported abnormalities. CYDAC’s unprecedented precision attracted great interest and led to clinical application of the technology.

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