It sounds like a science-fiction novel. Important information like medical records and top secret government documents stored in DNA. Fascinating! Although this has essentially been done, don’t expect to see it used widely in the near future.
DNA is a three dimensional media, with density capabilities of up to a zettabyte in a millimeter volume. All of the world’s information, about 1.8 zettabytes, could be stored in about four grams of DNA. It’s possible that we will see DNA storage technology for consumers in the next 10-20 years. The need for fast, affordable and reliable data storage is growing and the race is on to find that ideal solution.
Recently, researchers from the European Bioinformatics Institute in the United Kingdom encoded Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a photograph and some Shakespeare Sonnets into synthetic DNA strands and later sequenced the genetic material to reconstruct the written, audio, and visual information. To make the DNA files, the researchers started by converting the text, image and audio data into binary code. Next, they created software that converted the 1s and 0s into the genetic alphabet of DNA bases: A, T, G, and C. The files were then divided into segments and marked with an index code to identify which file it belonged to and where each segment is located within that file.
Since DNA can be recovered from 20,000 year old wooly mammoth bones and other long-extinct species, this has far greater potential for long term retrievable storage than conventional storage methods (tape, DVDs, hard drives, etc) which break down much faster and need to be replaced often. Also, DNA can be stored in a cool, dry environment and it takes up very little space, so those are admirable attributes as well.
Although this is a very exciting development, there are kinks in this technology that need to be worked out; once you encode data in DNA, you can’t change it or overwrite it. Additionally, you can’t immediately locate a specific piece of information, you would need to sequence large pieces of DNA to find exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also a cost prohibitive process, for now.
Since this technology will not be implemented anytime soon, call Teltek for your immediate data storage needs! We can advise you on the best equipment and procedures to keep your important information safe. Do you need your data stored off site? No problem! Our Data Center is the solution to your problems!
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