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Now Scientists Can Store Data in DNA

dnadoublehelix(TheAgendaRadio.com)  Flash drives and discs may soon become storage methods of the past as scientists reveal a new, more permanent method of storing information.

Scientists from University of Michigan and Microsoft researchers developed technology that now stores up to 200 megabytes of data into synthetic DNA.

The data encoded included video files and up to 100 books. Principal Researcher, Luiz Ceze said the research shows that computers can be built in a very different way. “Life has produced this fantastic molecule called DNA that efficiently stores all kinds of information about your genes and how a living system works — it’s very, very compact and very durable,” said Ceze. He called DNA the ultimate backup.

The technology to store DNA has been around since 2015. What’s new is that scientists are now also able to retrieve the stored data. Scientists claim they were able to do so by reversing the process and that they didn’t lose a single file. They outlined their experiment in a paper presented at the Association for Computing Machinery International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems.

dna-data-storage

The storage space of more than 600 basic smartphones (10,000 gigabytes) can be stored in a tiny droplet seen at the end of this test tube.                                                                                                                             Photo Credit: Tara Brown/University of Washington

 

The DNA storage method does raise some ethical concerns for how this technology could be used in the future. Theoretically, DNA data storage could open the possibility of “uploading” people with information.  In the ongoing quest to improve genetic material and on par with the designer baby trends allowing parents to control for traits, defects and acuity; parents could one day also opt to have their child an intellectual edge by having them  programmed with data that would take a normal human years to acquire.  This would cause an unethical gap in society, cementing the power of the wealthy who could afford such services over the poor who cannot.  DNA data storage and may also allow one day for  memories to be manipulated. This could have practical applications one day as treatment for Alzheimer’s but could also be used for nefarious purposes.

Scientists say the DNA storage method is much more compact and efficient than current known methods, can last up to 2000 years and could shrink the storage space needed to fill a Wal-Mart Supercenter down to a sugar cube.

The study was funded by Microsoft Research, The National Science Foundation and the David Notkin Endowed Graduate Fellowship.

 

This article used some materials provided by the University of Washington, with notes from Science Daily, Freedom Magazine and Furureforall.org.  No copyright infringement intended.

 

 

 

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About The Agenda with Christian Kirk (59 Articles)
The Agenda with Christian Kirk is a 1-hr radio program that explores the black experience in America through relevant and thoughtful interview, storytelling and music.

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