Monday, January 13, 2014

data storage dna

Have you ever thought of data storage in the form of DNA? Well, yes, most have. DNA is data storage of our genetic makeup. Storage apparatus. However what about storing speeches or JPG photos onto DNA? Researchers have created a way for that.

The researchers from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) in Hinxton, England, claim to have used a method to store versions of an mp3 of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, along with a JPG photo and several text files.

Their research is in the late January journal of Nature.

DNA is already a robust way to store information. It has been extracted from woolly mammoth bones, which date back tens of thousands of years. This information has been understood without question. Nick Goldman, co-author of the EMBL-EBI study says, "It's incredibly small, dense and does not need any power for storage, so shipping and keeping it is easy."

Last fall, Harvard University researchers were able to store 70 billion copies of an HTML-formatted book in DNA binary code. Both reading and writing DNA tend to make errors. The EMBL-EBI study invented an error-correcting code that was specially made to deal with the errors.

The new method requires synthesizing DNA from the encoded information. The EMBL-EBI lab worked with Agilent Technologies, a maker of measurement instruments such as oscilloscopes, to transmit the data and encode it in DNA. Agilent synthesized hundreds of thousands of pieces of DNA to represent the data. EMBL-EBI received this information and were able to decode the file.

Goldman's team analyzed the cost-effectiveness of the technology and suggested that, for now, using DNA as a storage medium would be best suited for archival purposes, such as preserving personal photos or videos.

Data is accumulating massively. Magnetic and optical discs are voluminous and are prone to decay. The only limit to DNA storage is the cost.

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