DNA Stores A Computer Operating System And Short Movie

Posted: Mar 3 2017, 2:39am CST | by , Updated: Mar 3 2017, 3:28am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

DNA Stores a Computer Operating System and Short Movie
In a study in Science, researchers Yaniv Erlich and Dina Zielinski describe a new coding technique for maximizing the data-storage capacity of DNA molecules. Credit: New York Genome Center
  • Forget flash drives, hard drives, CDs
  • DNA is an ideal storage medium
 

A micro-computer that employs DNA strands could store all the data in the global village.

The “dataclysm” that is about to occur in the future means that storage space is going to be limited. Hard drives and magnetic tape cannot record all the tons of information that humanity has generated over the centuries in the quest to extend its knowledge base.

Thus the scientists of today are turning to another source that is the oldest kind and which can easily store things – that would be DNA. 

The study, published in the journal Science, showed that an algorithm meant to stream video on a cellphone could decode DNA’s total storage potential by stuffing more information into its four nucleotides.

Such a piece of technology is also very stable and trustworthy in its nature. DNA is ideal for storage purposes since it is very concentrated in its form and can survive for eons provided it is given a cold, dry place to thrive in.

Recently, DNA was recovered from the remains of a 430,000 year old human predecessor found in a grotto in Spain. 

DNA thus doesn’t disintegrate like cassettes or CDs. Neither does it have any built-in obsolescence. Scientists at NYGC encoded a half a dozen files into DNA.

These included various cultural products in document form. These files were squeezed into a master file. The storage procedure was binary and consisted of zeroes and ones.

The strings of code were packaged into droplets and the four nucleotide bases had this information trapped in them. A total of 72,000 DNA strands went into making this text file.

Ultra-modern sequencing technology was used to recover the files. The recovery process took place with no hitches. Furthermore, an unlimited number of copies of these six files could be made endlessly. 

The coding strategy could copy 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA. This is a hundred times more storage capacity than that found in present-day coding devices.

It means that this is the highest information-storing system ever devised. The only issue with this technology (or should we say microbiology) is the high price that has to be paid to make it happen.

$7000 was what it took to construct the DNA and another $2000 was spent on deciphering it. The cost barrier remains the only problem otherwise this is the ideal technology for storing scads of information.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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