Science News

Storing stories in DNA

Thu, 7th Feb 2013

Kat Arney

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And finally, enormous library archives of magnetic tape or other media could one day be a thing of the past if a new data storage technique takes off - storing information encoded in DNA. Publishing in Nature, the team from the European Bioinformatics Institute encoded several different files in DNA, including a text file comprising all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Watson and Crick’s 1953 paper on the structure of DNA, a photo, and a short excerpt from Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. If kept under the right conditions - namely a cool, dark environment - DNA can last intact for thousands of years and the costs of synthesising it are coming down all the time.

Although it’s not going to replace a hard drive or USB stick any time soon, experts think that long-term DNA-based information storage could become feasible within the next decade.

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