Scientists make progress in using DNA to store data

19 Feb, 2024
Image: Barry He/China Daily Global

Scientists say they have made progress with using DNA to store data. Storing digital information on magnetic hard drives is far from perfect, takes up lots of space, and only lasts a few years before it degrades in quality.

Researchers are now experimenting with storing information in DNA, which is our natural way of keeping information safe and passing it on.

It is claimed that storing data, such as videos, photos and documents, in DNA molecules will not only save space and be more efficient, but also preserve it for thousands of years. It is a format that will never go obsolete, so long as humans can read it.

Some scientists forecast improvement in this method by a factor of 100 in the next few years, as technology accelerates. The technique works by growing unique strands of DNA made out of four blocks-adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine.

This technique is so efficient in the natural world that the complete instructions to create something as complex as a human being can all be contained in just one microscopic cell. The same four base units are used by scientists to encode information in binary code made up of ones and zeroes, which is the language used in traditional computing.

Over 215 million gigabytes can be stored in a single gram of DNA, meaning that the complete records of every single thing produced by humanity could be stored onto something the size of a vehicle.

Source: China Daily

Image: Barry He/China Daily Global

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