DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive

When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.

The scientists encoded the 53,400-word book, 11 JPG images and a JavaScript program – amounting to 5.27 million bits of data in total – into sequences of DNA. If they were able to upscale the process this would equate to 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA.

Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. Learn more here, here, here or here.

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4 Responses to “DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive”

  1. The Ultimate Coder | Troy Jonathan Ritchie Says:

    […] DNA is the code that puts our body together to what we see.  The amount of data that can be held in our DNA is impressive as Mr. Barlow’s Blog points out. […]

  2. Mirek Says:

    Is saying that DNA is a program in 3D correct?

  3. Mirek Says:

    Sorry, I was after a more specific answer:)
    Must keep searching…

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