Microsoft is announcing that its researchers along with the scientists from the University of Washington have achieved a milestone in DNA storage.
Where and how digital information gets stored in the future could be dramatically different than current methods.
Microsoft is announcing that its researchers along with the scientists from the University of Washington have achieved an "important milestone in DNA storage by storing a record 200 megabytes of data on the molecular strands."
Among the works of art included in the DNA strands were 100 books from the Project Guttenberg, Crop Trust's seed database, a video by OK Go!, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in over 100 languages.
Describing how the technology works, an MIT article notes, "Storing data in DNA requires translating the 1s and 0s of binary digital files into long strings of the four different nucleotides, or bases, that make up DNA strands and write out the genetic code."
What's remarkable about the new approach is how little space it takes to store enormous amount of data.
The company notes in a press release, "Think of the amount of data in a big data center compressed into a few sugar cubes. Or all the publicly accessible data on the Internet slipped into a shoebox. That is the promise of DNA storage – once scientists are able to scale the technology and overcome a series of technical hurdles."
With the ever-increasing requirement for data storage, there's certainly a need for continued innovation in the storage field.
A University of Washington associate professor notes, “DNA is an amazing information storage molecule that encodes data about how a living system works. We’re repurposing that capacity to store digital data — pictures, videos, documents...This is one important example of the potential of borrowing from nature to build better computer systems.”
While there's significant potential for DNA storage, researchers do acknowledge they have a long way to go before the technology becomes commercially viable.