DNA memory

I can’t even begin to begin on this one!


A company in the States has figured out a way to store information in DNA strands.
To test the whole end to end process, they stored some info in the DNA and then sent it to another tech company in the UK via regular mail…..

These specks were DNA, and they contained:

  • All of the Bard’s 154 sonnets.
  • A 26-second clip of Martin Luther King’s legendary “I have a dream” speech
  • A PDF of James Watson and Francis Crick’s classic paper where they detailed the structure of DNA
  • A JPEG photo of Goldman and Birney’s institute
  • A code that converted all of that into DNA in the first place
  • The team sent the vials off to a facility in Germany, where colleagues dissolved the DNA in water, sequenced it, and reconstructed all the files with 100 percent accuracy. It vindicated the team’s efforts to encode digital information into DNA using a new technique—one that could be easily scaled up to global levels. And it showed the potential of the famous double-helix as a way of storing our growing morass of data.

    Is that pretty crazy interesting or what?

    As to why;

    DNA has several big advantages over traditional storage media like CDs, tapes or hard disks. For a start, it takes up far less space. Goldman’s files came to 757 kilobytes and he could barely see them. For a more dramatic comparison, CERN, Europe’s big particle physics laboratory, currently stores around 90 petabytes of data (a petabyte is a million gigabytes) on around 100 tape drives. Goldman’s method could fit that into 41 grams of DNA. That’s a cupful.

    DNA is also incredibly durable. As long as it is kept in cold, dry and dark conditions, it can last for tens of thousands of years with minimal care.

    It’s all about big data.
    Right now it takes some time to get it into and out of the DNA, but just like I used to record computer programs onto audio cassettes (a fact that makes my son smile every time I mention it) and my Dad used to store his programs on punch cards… we will get better and faster at getting it in and out.
    Once that happens. Wow. Gigabyte hard drives that are the size of thimbles, that never (ever) crash…….

    Very very cool.

    (Also where is this going to end?).