STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists believe that using microbiology might help them store computer files in DNA. Based on new research which was published on February 28 in Science magazine, specialists believe that DNA may solve the problem of data storage. According to Dina Zielinski, an associate scientist at the New York Genome Center and Yaniv Erlich, a computer scientist at Columbia University, the DNA system which they have created is able to store 215 petabytes.
This represents 215 million gigabytes located in a single gram of DNA. This piece of DNA is, thus, able of storing all the data registered in a container about the size of a few pickup trucks. Isn’t this amazing? Erlich argued that DNA is unable to degrade in time like CDs and tapes do, and it will not become obsolete. In the experiment developed here, Zielinski and Erlich encrypted a copy of the Kolibri computer operating system.
They have also used other types of materials which they found to be useful, like a study developed in 1948 by Claude Shannon, an information theorist and a picture of the plaque transported to the edge of the solar system by the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. Elrich also revealed that they believe that the best idea is to add a computer virus on DNA, just like a real virus is usually found in a DNA sequence.
When the virus was triggered, then it wrote trillions of zeros. Their computer needed about two or three minutes to transform the data, converting it into a DNA sequence. Researchers have been used this method of storing computer files in DNA since 2012. Back then, George Church together with Sri Kosuri and other colleagues at Harvard University encoded a 52,000-word book in thousands of DNA pieces.
Kosuri, who has now become a biochemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, claimed that he was very excited to develop that experiment back then and he is proud of working on such a fantastic work which helped others have a starting point for their own. He also argued that he enjoyed the new study, claiming that it is the definitive study which proves that it is possible to store computer files in DNA. Nevertheless, the system developed is not yet ready for large-scale use. To synthesize two megabytes of data in files it may cost about $7,000.
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