DNA For Data Storage

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

DNA Hard Disk

A team of scientists from Swiss University ETH Zurich has discovered a method to store data for many years without worrying about its loss. Researchers involved in the experiment announced that DNA can be tweaked to save huge amount of digital data for at least 2,000 years.  

This is a significant announcement, for a normal hard drive can store up to five terabytes of data for around 50 years. In comparison an ounce of DNA can store more than 300,000 terabytes of data. Scientists were inspired for the research from fossils. The main advantages of storing data in a DNA are size and durability.

Robert Grass who led the team to this path breaking discovery stated that people after discovering the double helix architecture of DNA figured out that nature uses a similar coding language that is used in computers – the binary language. For the research Grass and his team encoded DNA with 83 kilobytes of text from the Swiss Federal Charter, 1291, and the Method of Archimedes from the 10th century. Following this they encapsulated the DNA and warmed it to nearly 71° Celsius for one week which is the basic requirement for storing it for 2,000 years at 50°. When the team decoded the DNA they found it to be error free.

The DNA storage has a drop of liquid containing floating molecules which has information stored in it. The only drawback as of now is identifying a specific information as and when required.

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