DNA Data Storage Is Robust, Scalable
For the first time, scientists believe that they have developed a robust system for encoding information into DNA, and then reading it back with 100% accuracy.
Digital production, transmission and storage have revolutionized how we access and use information but have also made archiving an increasingly complex task that requires active, continuing maintenance of digital media. This challenge has focused some interest on DNA as an attractive target for information storage1 because of its capacity for high-density information encoding, longevity under easily achieved conditions and proven track record as an information bearer.
Previous DNA-based information storage approaches have encoded only trivial amounts of information or were not amenable to scaling-up, and used no robust error-correction and lacked examination of their cost-efficiency for large-scale information archival. Here we describe a scalable method that can reliably store more information than has been handled before. We encoded computer files totalling 739 kilobytes of hard-disk storage and with an estimated Shannon information of 5.2 × 106 bits into a DNA code, synthesized this DNA, sequenced it and reconstructed the original files with 100% accuracy.
Theoretical analysis indicates that our DNA-based storage scheme could be scaled far beyond current global information volumes and offers a realistic technology for large-scale, long-term and infrequently accessed digital archiving. In fact, current trends in technological advances are reducing DNA synthesis costs at a pace that should make our scheme cost-effective for sub-50-year archiving within a decade.
The first time I read about this idea was in an excellent series of fantasy novels by Barbara Hambly. In her 1982 Darwath trilogy, she writes about how wizards of several thousand years ago 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.
From Towards practical, high-capacity, low-maintenance information storage in synthesized DNA (Nature) via Discover.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/25/2013)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces
'They should be Welton Fine-Grains, or they would be too bulky to ship...' - Robert Heinlein, 1973.
Data Crystals Offer Eternal Storage
'The books were crystals with recorded contents...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1961.
Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Six Terabyte Solid State Drive Just 2.5 Inches
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
ibotn Toddler-Care Mini-Robot
'She's not like a machine. She's like a person. A living person.'
Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...'
Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...'
British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
The modern way to get feedback from passengers.
Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.'
MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'
Mini Robot Uses 2 mm Surgical Tools
'... surgical tool - blades, tweezers, probes - so fine you could just see them with the naked eye.'
Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!
'Give the noble daydreams a rest, you preachy rookie. Astronauts are wage slaves like everyone else!'
Writhing Robotic Tentacle Uses Laser To Chop Nuke Hardware
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles... swinging and rattling about its strange body.'
LBNP Device Not Quite 'Artificial Gravity'
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses..'
China's XPNAV 1 To Use X-Ray Pulsars For Navigation
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
Artificial Muscle Material Is Self-Healing, Super Stretchy
Google Zero-Shot Translation Gives Star Trek Fans Hope
"This is your opponent!"
Moley Kitchen Robot Ready By 2018
'...the electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'
Tricking Cells Into Making Silicon Chips
'Fabricated by genetically engineered metal affinity bacteria...'
AI Lip Reading Better Than Human, Like HAL 9000
Nothing to worry about, until computers control most vital systems.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories