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Researchers at Microsoft and the University of Washington have reached an early but important milestone in DNA storage by storing a record 200 megabytes of data on the molecular strands.
Microsoft & Nanotechnolgoy
Technical Evangelist, Microsoft
University of Washington
Microsoft and University of Washington researchers are
http://misl.cs.washington.edu/collaborating to use DNA as a high density, durable and easy-to-manipulate storage medium.
Demand for data storage is growing exponentially, but the capacity of existing storage media is not keeping up.
Right now your data is being stored on one of these.
We have recently completed the storage and recovery of 200MB in DNA.
UW Associate Professor Luis Henrique Ceze, in blue, and research scientist Lee Organick prepare DNA containing digital data for sequencing, which allows them to "read" and retrieve the original file
The size of it all
Once encoded, the data occupied a spot in a test tube “much smaller than the tip of a pencil.”
All the publicly accessible data on the Internet could slip into a shoebox
The big and the small
Cloud: Growing by the day
DNA: Shrinking by the day
What is the cloud?
A massive set of computers that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection.
How does it work?
DNA – or deoxyribonucleic acid – is a molecule that contains the biological instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms.
0101 -> DNA -> PCR -> 0101
PCR = Polymerase Chain Reactor
First the data is translated from 1s and 0s into the “letters” of the four nucleotide bases of a DNA strand —(A)denine, (C)ytosine, (G)uanine and (T)hymine.
Big advances in speed by applying computer science principles like error correction to the process
Learn more about Microsoft’s DNA storage project
Read the University of Washington
http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/07/07/uw-microsoft-researchers-break-record-for-dna-data-storage/Q&A on the project
https://www.twistbioscience.com/press/twist-bioscience-announces-microsoft-purchase-of-its-synthetic-dna-for-digital-data-storage-research/Twist Bioscience press release
This project enables molecular-level data storage into DNA molecules by leveraging biotechnology advances in synthesizing, manipulating and sequencing DNA to develop archival storage.
The amount of digital data produced has long been outpacing the amount of storage available.
Most of the world’s data today is stored on magnetic and optical media. Despite improvements in optical discs, storing a zettabyte of data would still take many millions of units, and use significant physical space. If we are to preserve the world’s data, we need to seek significant advances in storage density and durability. Using DNA to archive data is an attractive possibility because it is extremely dense (up to about 1 exabyte per cubic millimeter) and durable (half-life of over 500 years).
That’s making it hard for organizations that need to store a lot of data – such as hospitals with vast databases of patient data or companies with lots of video footage – to keep up. And it means information is being lost, and the problem will only worsen without a new solution.
The impressive part is not just how much data they were able to encode onto synthetic DNA and then decode. It’s also the space they were able to store it in.
Digital data from more than 600 basic smartphones can be stored in the faint pink smear of DNA at the end of this test tube.
Think of the amount of data in a big data center compressed into a few sugar cubes. Or all the publicly accessible data on the Internet slipped into a shoebox. That is the promise of DNA storage – once scientists are able to scale the technology and overcome a series of technical hurdles
“DNA is an amazing information storage molecule that encodes data about how a living system works. We’re repurposing that capacity to store digital data — pictures, videos, documents,” said Ceze, who is conducting research in the team’s Molecular Information Systems Lab (MISL), which is housed in a basement on the University of Washington campus. “This is one important example of the potential of borrowing from nature to build better computer systems.”
Reading the data uses a biotech tweak to random access memory (RAM), another concept borrowed from computer science. The team uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a technique that molecular biologists use routinely to manipulate DNA, to multiply or “amplify” the strands it wants to recover. Once they’ve sharply increased the concentration of the desired snippets, they take a sample, sequence or decode the DNA and then run error correction computations.
Then they have vendor Twist Bioscience “translate those letters, which are still in electronic form, into the molecules themselves, and send them back,” Strauss said. “It’s essentially a test tube and you can barely see what’s in it. It looks like a little bit of salt was dried in the bottom.”
Without modern error correcting codes the audio CD would never have worked. It would have so many clicks, pops and missing bits due to the inevitable errors in reading the disc that you just wouldn't listen to it.
Without modern error correcting codes the audio CD would never have worked. It would have so many clicks, pops and missing bits due to the inevitable errors in reading the disc that you just wouldn't listen to it.ide bases of a DNA strand —(A)denine, (C)ytosine, (G)uanine and (T)hymine.
“DNA is an amazing informat