Researchers store human-generated data in DNA

Researchers store human-generated data in DNA

As existing storage technologies are having a hard time keeping up with ever increasing data, scientists are trying to find a solution in biology rather than computers.

DNA molecules use biological codes to store genetic information, but a team of scientists in New York has unveiled a new technique that can allow humans to use DNA for storing human-generated data.

Scientists Yaniv Erlich and Dina Zielinski of Columbia University and NY Genome Center successfully transferred a complete computer OS, an old movie, a $50 Amazon gift card along with some other information into a minute speck of DNA, achieving data storage density of 215 petabytes per gram.

In theory, that is equivalent to storing the entire the human-generated information into the space of one typical room.

Sharing their findings, Erlich added, “DNA has several advantages to store information. The first thing is that it's very compact. In effect, it's about one million times more compact than what you can get when you use a regular digital media.”

The new technique uses a “DNA fountain” algorithm which haphazardly packs binary code into data droplets that can be mapped onto DNA building blocks. All information can then be decoded back into the original digital information.

The potential use of DNA for storing human-generated data was described in a recent edition of the journal Science.