Scientists at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute have successfully discovered a way to store data in synthesized DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule that holds the genetic programming and instructions for living organisms.
What’s the point? Well, DNA can last quite a long time, if stored under the right conditions. Namely, “cold, dry and dark.” The information stored within can last thousands of years in a space no bigger than a speck of dust or the inside of a test tube.
“For the purposes of DNA synthesis, scientists took [the] information and converted it to base 3 – that is, zeroes, ones and twos.
From there, the data gets translated into collections of DNA’s nucleic acid bases, represented by the letters A, C, G and T.”
Researchers have also proven that it’s possible to store a variety of information formats, including images and audio, which can later be retrieved by sequencing the DNA. The formats they used to demonstrate included…
“…an .mp3 of Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream”; a .jpg photo of EMBL-EBI; a .pdf of Watson and Crick’s seminal paper, “Molecular structure of nucleic acids”; a .txt file of all of Shakespeare’s sonnets; and a file that describes the encoding.”
- Researchers make DNA storage a reality, Phys.org
Now…how long until we discover the secret messages left to us in our own DNA?
Image courtesy Pete.