Will our DNA be the next big data store?

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Will our DNA be the next big data store?

Alfred Gilbert
July 31st, 2017
agilbert@challenge.org

We are constantly creating digital data throughout our daily lives. As the amount of data, we are producing increases, we are now struggling in our abilities to capture and store said information for prolonged periods. To combat this, scientists are looking for more permanent archiving and storage solutions. One of the most interesting proposals, is the use of DNA.

 

DNA, as many will know from early year science lessons, is the molecule that is responsible for containing and passing on our genetic information. Made from sugars and phosphate, along with a mix of covalent and hydrogen bonds, these super-structures are easily replicable, compact, and capable of holding vast amounts of coded information.

 

RAF100-Event-DNA-Data

 

By using DNA as the main data store, reports predict that we would be able to store all of the information that we currently have in the world inside the back of one van. A pretty astounding and important discovery when we think about how much data will be produced even over the next 5 years.

 

Although scientists have been successful in their initial explorations and experiments with DNA encoding, the current techniques for doing so are still severely limiting meaningful development. Current production processes are both slow and expensive, requiring large amounts of pinpoint and sophisticated precision machinery to complete.

 

At present, DNA has already been successfully used to store photographs, music, and historical texts. As the technology and understanding behind DNA storage practices increases, scientists believe that this smart molecule can become a realistic permanent storage device for our growing data network.

 

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“ By using DNA as a main data store, reports predict that we would be able to store all of the information that we currently have in the world inside the back of one van. ”

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