How To Store 700 TB... In A Gram of DNA

This week our topic is DNA... deoxyribonucleic acid. It’s the hereditary molecule that encodes the genetic instructions, which is used in the development of all known living organisms.

It looks like we are beginning to see the convergence of the biological and digital worlds.

Our guest this week is at the forefront. Dr. Sri Kosuri, is a scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. He works with George Church, who helped initiate the Human Genome Project. At the Vees Institute, Dr. Kosuri focuses on inventing new biotechnologies.

Their work basically treats DNA as just another digital storage device. Instead of binary data being encoded as magnetic regions on a hard drive, 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).

So one gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a drop of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky.

As you can imagine that this will have substantial ramifications on the storage/computing industry.


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