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100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
DNA stores a lot of information in a very small space, a fact not overlooked by data scientists. It also lasts a long time. A team in Atlanta, US, has now developed a chip that they say could improve on existing forms of DNA storage by a factor of 100.
"The density of features on our new chip is [approximately] 100x higher than current commercial devices," Nicholas Guise, senior research scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), told BBC News.
"So once we add all the control electronics - which is what we're doing over the next year of the program - we expect something like a 100x improvement over existing technology for DNA data storage."
The idea that DNA could be used to store information is an idea that is long familiar to sf readers. Fantasy writer Barbara Hambly uses a similar idea in her 1982 Darwath trilogy. She describes how wizards succeeded in tying information to the DNA of selected individuals.
In the story, several people from 1980's California find themselves transported across the Void to another planet and the Realm of Darwath. They face a deadly species of queerly magical beings - the Dark - who destroyed civilization thousands of years ago. Everything that was made of paper (like books and records) were burned to stave off attacks by the Dark. Tying memories to a few suitable bloodlines was the only way to preserve a record of that period that would endure.
See the Heritable Memories Bloodline from The Time of the Dark (1982) by Barbara Hambly.
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