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Book written in DNA code

| August 21, 2012
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Scientists have for the first time used DNA to encode the contents of a book. At 53,000 words, and including 11 images and a computer program, it is the largest amount of data yet stored artificially using the genetic material. The researchers claim that the cost of DNA coding is dropping so quickly that within five to 10 years it could be cheaper to store information using this method than in conventional digital devices.

Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA – the chemical that stores genetic instructions in almost all known organisms – has an impressive data capacity. One gram can store up to 455bn gigabytes: the contents of more than 100bn DVDs, making it the ultimate in compact storage media.

A three-strong team led by Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School has now demonstrated that the technology to store data in DNA, while still slow, is becoming more practical. They report in the journal Science that the 5.27 megabit collection of data they stored is more than 600 times bigger than the largest dataset previously encoded this way.

View the original article here: Book written in DNA code

The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

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