The 700 Terabyte Gram of DNA

Some folks at Harvard have figured out how to write — and read — insanely large amounts of data in strands of DNA:

The work, carried out by George Church and Sri Kosuri, basically treats DNA as just another digital storage device. Instead of binary data being encoded as magnetic regions on a hard drive platter, strands of DNA that store 96 bits are synthesized, with each of the bases (TGAC) representing a binary value (T and G = 1, A and C = 0).

The data can be read, too, by reversing the conversion. The coverage I’ve seen so far doesn’t mention anything about read/write speed (in other words, it might take quite a while to write or read the data from DNA at the moment), but obviously this is still pretty experimental.

Regardless, it’s an impressive feat of data storage density. If the interface to DNA as data storage can be worked out, we are on the verge of being able to store quite a bit more data than we’re used to. I bet we could fit some DNA into a phone, for example.

Read the coverage at Extreme Tech for more details.