Just a single gram of DNA is capable of storing data with the capacity of half a million DVDs.
Researchers have been making huge strides in the use of DNA as a digital storage medium. Last year, a team at Harvard Medical School succeeded in storing the contents of a book in DNA at a density of 700 terabits per gram. Now another team at the European Bioinformatics Institute has managed to improve upon this by increasing the storage density to 2.2 petabytes per gram.
It isn't clear exactly how this technology will be used or whether it is practical as a replacement for conventional storage mediums. For one thing, data stored on DNA cannot be changed once written and it can only be accessed sequentially like an old-style magnetic cassette tape. The incredible capacities that are possible however make it an avenue worth investigating.
"The team first translated written words or other data into a standard binary code of 0s and 1s, and then converted this to a trinary code of 0s, 1s, and 2s - a step needed to help prevent the introduction of errors."
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