From the days of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, up till the nineteenth century, the world has seen a lot of changes in science and technology.
We have seen several science discoveries that has been used for implementing several technologies. Among these the more popular ones include the telephone and the airplane.
Scientists are always thinking about new ways to do things, better technology to achieve things, etc. So they thought about storing large amounts of data into a highly reliable storage and so they thought about the DNA as that reliable storage, isn’t that strange?
As strange as it seems, scientists profess they’ve found a relatively error-free and reliable way to store data in DNA.
Reasons Scientist Considered DNA
Before scientist gave a thought to store data files into DNA, they considered the following:
- It is dense: It is dense, thus you can store a bit of information per base.
- It is volumetric rather than planar
- It is highly stable: DNA molecules can be stored virtually anywhere and can retain data for a long period of time unlike other storage devices which can’t. A proof of this was the extraction of information from the DNA of mammoths that died tens of thousands of years ago.
A gram of DNA can cram 700 Terabytes of data
These reasons led scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute to actually encode 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a PDF, a color photograph, and an MP3 of the famous speech of Martin Luther King, “I have a Dream” into a single strand of DNA.
However incredible that seems, it is not very fascinating if DNA could only store some 154 Shakespeare sonnets. Amazingly, one gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data that is over what Facebook users expend daily (Facebook users expend about 500 terabytes of data daily) and about 14,000 fifty gigabytes blu-ray disc!
For Facebook to store such large amounts of data daily, they need several hundreds of servers. One gram of DNA, however, isn’t as large as that, in fact it is as small as a droplet of water!
Encoding data to a DNA comes with a major drawback, a drawback that involves cost. It is estimated that the cost of encoding a megabyte of data into DNA is $12, 400. However, that’s not all because it costs another $220 to read the information stored in the DNA!
Scientists have now assured that in the years ahead, DNA storage would be much cheaper and will be a considerable alternative storage in the world.