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Harvard geniuses shove 700 terabytes of data in one single gram of DNA

A geneticist and a bioengineer at Harvards slogged together to store nearly 700 terabytes or 5.5 petabits of data in one single gram of DNA. Their combined effort has smashed the density record of DNA data that has been previously recorded, by shoving a whopping 700 terabytes in one gram, by nearly a thousand times.

The DNA study

The study was carried out under the supervision of Sri Kosuri and George Church who treated the DNA as another digital storage piece of equipment. DNA strands storing the 96 bits were synthesized with the bases TGAC given a value, just like the binary data on a hard drive platter having magnetic regions encoded on them. T and G were taken as 1, A and C as 0(T & G =1, A&C=0).

The data stored in the DNA could then be easily decoded and read by sequencing it. This is largely similar to the sequencing that can be done in the human genome. The TGAC bases can be deciphered by converting it back into binary.

Sequencing was helped to a great extent by giving each DNA strand a 19-bit address block in the beginning. This aided the total DNA Vat to be sequenced even when out of order and then it can be converted into usable data that has been sorted with the help of the addresses.

Why is DNA eyed for storage?

The scientists had the DNA under the potential storage scanner since ages because it is volumetric, very dense, and is extremely stable. The DNA can remain unharmed for thousands of years in the toughest conditions whereas bleeding edge storage mediums have to be preserved in sub-zero vacuum environment.

The laboratory equipments and microfluidics help in sequencing and synthesizing DNA easily. Remember the times when it took years to analyze a single human genetic code, but now the process can be carried out in hours.

The advancement in technology today helps shove in 700 terabytes equivalent to 14000 50- gigabyte Blu-ray Discs in just a small droplet of DNA on your little finger. Just imagine the space occupied if this data had to put into hard drives, so it’s time to lead the way to “bio-storage”.