For the first time in scientific history, Harvard University researchers have successfully turned a 53,426-word book into DNA, the substance that creates our genetic templates. This is huge, and could lead to the use of DNA as a long-term storage medium.
According to the study published in the journal Science, the experiment was done to demonstrate how large amounts of data could be stored in DNA molecules. Since data is recorded on individual nucleobase pairs in the DNA strand, DNA has the unique ability to store more info per cubic millimeter than flash memory or other experimental storage technologies.
Once the sequences were arranged, it was simple to decode back into binary code and then into the complete book as an HTML file. According to the researchers there were very few errors; only 10 bits out of 5.27 million.
Aside from the density of DNA storage, longevity and future-proofing are two big advantages as well. DNA lasts for thousands of years, and future societies will always have the technology to read it.
The only downsides are the costs, since this is obviously an expensive procedure, and that once a string of DNA is encoded, it cannot be written on again.
So uh, what in the world would you like to store in some DNA?
Image CC licensed byÂ Micah Baldwin: DNA