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Science & Technology

Scientists store and retrieve images in DNA

By T.K. Randall
April 10, 2016 · Comment icon 8 comments

DNA can be used as a way to store information. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Christoph Bock
A revolutionary new technique has made it possible to use strings of DNA to store digital photographs.
Computer data storage mechanisms have been getting increasingly sophisticated in recent years and now researchers at the University of Washington have managed to take things one step further by using the very building blocks of life to store and retrieve digital data.

To accomplish this, the team needed to convert the binary values that make up the images in to the four basic building blocks of DNA - adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine.

Once this was accomplished the researchers synthesized artificial DNA based on these values.
"Life has produced this fantastic molecule called DNA that efficiently stores all kinds of information about your genes and how a living system works," wrote computer scientist Luis Ceze.

"It's very, very compact and very durable. We're essentially repurposing it to store digital data - pictures, videos, documents - in a manageable way for hundreds or thousands of years."

While it's unlikely that consumers will be using DNA-based hard drives anytime soon, the idea actually appears to work and could become more commonplace in the not-too-distant future.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by docyabut2 8 years ago
Life has already done that, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-558271/Can-really-transplant-human-soul.html
Comment icon #2 Posted by bubblykiss 8 years ago
Get back to me when science has established the ability to save entire movie scenes in DNA. So that I can write the "are you talking me" scene with the alterations of it being me, and further asking "yeah, I am talking to you scientists from the future. You get outta my DNA and get back to whatever weird decadence you are normally up to".
Comment icon #3 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
we are about to be able to use our computer to talk to our computer code.
Comment icon #4 Posted by jarjarbinks 8 years ago
maybe one day we could achieve all of our sexual desire with the technology, every time we want
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Maybe Kodak will get into this. Didn't they have a tag line about bring pictures to life some years ago? Living pictures - kinda scary
Comment icon #6 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
Yay for progress!
Comment icon #7 Posted by stevemagegod 8 years ago
Wait so what if DNA already does have images of are ancestors stored inside that we could digitally recreate? Maybe we could even rediscover who made DNA in the 1 st place
Comment icon #8 Posted by TheGreatBeliever 8 years ago
I think pumping more effort into medical nanobots is more important. With longer lives we could see more into the future!

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