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Microsoft Smashes DNA Storage Record

Paul Rubens - July 8, 2016 - 05:20 AM
Microsoft Smashes DNA Storage Record
Scientists have successfully stored 200 MB of digital data, including books and art, on strands of synthetic DNA.

(CCM) — Researchers have broken the record for storing digital data on DNA, Microsoft announced yesterday. The scientists, from Microsoft and the University of Washington, have succeeded in storing 200 MB of data on strands of synthetic DNA, far surpassing the previous record of 22 MB. The data includes digital versions of works of art, including a high-definition video by the band OK Go!, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in more than 100 languages, the Top 100 books chosen by Project Gutenberg, and the Crop Trust's seed database. One of the benefits of DNA storage is that it can store a large amount of data in a very small space. The 200 MB occupies a volume of molecular strands that is "much smaller than the tip of a pencil," according to Douglas Carmean, the Microsoft partner architect overseeing the project. That means that all of the publicly accessible data on the Internet could fit inside of a shoebox.

DNA can last for thousands of years if kept in the right conditions, and unlike storage media such as tape or floppy disks, it is unlikely to become obsolete. "As long as there is DNA-based life on the planet, we'll be interested in reading it," said Karin Strauss, the principal Microsoft researcher on the project.

Photo: © Asif Islam - Shutterstock.com
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