Data stored as DNA strands : The Future of Data Storage

Mar 22, 2019 in Innovation
Posted By : Upendra Namburi


Microsoft and the University of Washington have been working on an automated DNA storage technology.

What is DNA storage?

It’s a process in which bits of information encoded into DNA sequences, which is then synthesised and stored in a liquid form. It is then read by a DNA sequencer, and then a decoding process translates the sequences back into bits

What have they accomplished?

DNA sequencing has been under development, but this is the first instance when the entire process has been automated, though the current run for a 5 byte message took 21 hours to complete from bits to a sequence and back to bits. In nucleotide form HELLO (01001000 01000101 01001100 01001100 01001111 in bits) yielded approximately 1 mg of DNA, and just 4micrograms were retained for sequencing.

What can we look forward to?

The first step is in increasing the speed of end to end conversion ensuring that the cost comes down gradually. This would be followed by the volume of data which could be processed rapidly. The end goal is to see if this technology can replace large data centres in a quicker more economical way.

To help you visualize this, the vision is that a large warehouse sized data centre could potentially be replaced by a dice sized unit of liquid! This could also potentially help save data for much longer periods of time.

To understand more about the technology, you could read it here.

Image source : Microsoft

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