Originally posted by Jed E. Robinson on RoundNews.com on August 17, 2012
Scientists from Harvard University wanted to prove that DNA, the genetic template substance, can be a viable storage solution. They took a 200+ page book that totalled close to 53000 words.
The scope of Harvard’s research was to see if DNA molecules ca be used to store a large amount of data. DNA can last for thousands of years as opposed to the average harddrive lifespan which is close to 5 years of active use. If DNA is trapped in amber then it can last for million of years.
In order to convert the digital version of the book to DNA the following process was followed:
- The resulting binary string was analysed bit by bit. A nucleobase was assigned for every bit value.
- The 5.27 million base long DNA strand was synthesized by analysing 96 bases at a time
- The synthesized DNA now contains the entire book. Its weight is one million time less than the weight of a grain of salt.
After the book was converted to DNA, Harvard scientists went ahead and tried to read the content in order to determine how reliable is DNA as a storing medium. Only 10 bits out of the total of 5.27 million were erronated. Current technology offers an easy way to read DNA. There are many commercially available solutions on the market.
DNA is our basis of life. Using it for storing data in the close future is not that far fetched.