Business use discovered for DNA analysis tool

Gotta post this here, too. I put in Blog for Business because it’s such good news for business people. A technique for reading DNA has now been applied to reading and isolating spam emails.This is a sign of things to come.

“Instead of chains of characters representing DNA sequences, the research group fed the algorithm 65,000 examples of known spam. Each email was treated as a long, DNA-like chain of characters. Teiresias identified six million recurring patterns in this collection, such as ‘Viagra.’

“Each pattern represented a common sequence of letters and numbers that had appeared in more than one unsolicited message. The researchers then ran a collection of known non-spam (dubbed “ham”) through the same process, and removed the patterns that occurred in both groups.”

Rate of error–deleting a genuine email–was 1 in 6000. How much time do you waste deleting emails? Is it worth that risk?

I’m sure that as scientists you have long noticed that patterns exist everywhere we look. Here’s another illustration of how a technique from one discipline can have direct transferrability to another–if you only jog your thinking enough.