I have watched a talk by Mikko Hypponen (CEO of the security company F-Secure) called Silicon Plague. There, roughly at minute 51 of the talk, he mentions a computer code that is supposed to be able to infect DNA.
The computer code, written in C++, hosts the DNA sequence of M.mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. At runtime it acts as follows: 1) Preparing the DNA sequence of M.mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 in the memory, (with slightly modified watermarks). 2) Encoding own file-content in base32. The base32 code is then encoded in JCVI's DNA-encoded alphabet. 3) This representation of its digital form is then copied to a watermark of the bacteria's genome in memory. With this, a fully functional bacterial DNA sequence including the digital code is generated. 4) Next, it searches for FASTA-files on the computer, which are text-based representations of DNA sequences, commonly used by many DNA sequence libraries. 5) For each FASTA-file, it replaces the original DNA with the bacterial DNA containing the digital form of the computer code. The code has a classical self-replication mechanism as well, to eventually end up on a computer in a microbiology-laboratory with the ability of creating DNA out of digital genomes (such as laboratories by the JCVI).
As far as I understand, the program tries to go into biology-lab computers with genome files, and modify the content with some content of itself. This sounds scary. Unfortunately, I'm not at the level yet where I would understand whether that could work (undergraduate student), so my question is: Does that idea work? Could there really be a computer virus that infects DNA?