DNA Can Store Digital Files

DNA, the code that programs our bodies, can now be used to store digital information.

We’ve been able to read DNA for years, with the human genome project being completed a decade ago, but encoding data onto DNA has previously been unreliable. The European Bioinformatics Institute successfully had several files encoded onto DNA with 99.9% accuracy: an MP3 (“I have a dream” by Martin Luther King), a photo of the institute’s lab, a PDF document, and a text that included all of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Data stored in DNA lasts longer because it is not magnetic like traditional hard drives and tape drives and does not require power.

Naturally, the benefits of DNA storage come at a cost. The exact price for encoding data to DNA is unknown, but it should become more accessible to consumers in the next decade.

Head of the research project Dr. Goldman told The Telegraph:

“Because it is expensive and one of its big advantages is longevity, the potential applications will initially be in really high value information which you are determined to keep safe but you do not expect to read very often, such as government records or the Doomsday Book.

“As the price starts to come down it will start to become available to people with smaller budgets, so in ten years’ time it may be [cost efficient for] something you would look at on a 50 year timescale, such as a wedding video.”

What else will change in the next 10 years?


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