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Future of Data Storage: DNA Can Store Earth's Data in Just One Room, Experts Explain

Mar 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT

In an era that's becoming too dependent on digital technology, the idea of memory storage is a sacred one. In fact, scientists are now considering using our own DNA in order to store data.

DNA has a lot of advantages when it comes to data storage. Aside from its very small size, it can last for thousands of years, assuming they are kept in cool and dry places. A single DNA gram can store 215 petabytes (or 215 million gigabytes) of information, which means it can very well contain all of the world's information with just a few pickup trucks' worth of DNA.

Yaniv Erlich from Columbia University explained that DNA will not be able to degrade over time. Unlike cassette tapes and CDs, DNA won't ever become obsolete. In fact, new technological developments may result to bigger capacity for DNA data storage.

Read Also: Woah! Computer Data, Including Movie, Successfuly Stored on DNA  

Back in 2012, researchers from Harvard University lead by George Church, Sri Kosuri have been playing on the concept of DNA data storage by encoding a 52,000-word book in snippets of DNA. 

Science Magazine says DNA storage may be the solution of to humanity's ever-evolving problem on data storage. The outlet said that in the past two years, mankind has created an unprecedented amount of data that hard drives around the world are starting to give up.

This may be the reason why scientists are finally turning to DNA for its storage potential. After all, if DNA can store genetic data throughout millennia, then it should be able to store data in general.

According to Big Think, DNA data storage is done by converting DNA's four-letter alphabet of A, G, T and C elements in order to encode the binary alphabet (0s and 1s) of digital files.

Unfortunately, the method they used proved a bit insufficient for practical storage, as it could only store 1.28 petabytes per DNA gram. The new method is still very costly, but the fact remains that storing data via DNA is possible.

Read Also: DNA Hard Drives Can Store Up to 700 Terabytes of Digital Files

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