Short Bytes: The amount of storage available has long been outpaced by the amount of digital data available. To overcome this problem, Windows maker Microsoft has announced that it’s working on a technique to store data on DNA strands.
Microsoft has partnered with a San Francisco-based biotech startup Twist and paid it to create ten million strands of long oligonucleotides — laboratory-made molecules of digital storage DNA.
Microsoft will study and develop the DNA technique as a long-term secure data storage system. As a result of this partnership, Microsoft gives the data as a digital sequence to Twist, which the bioscience startup converts in the physical form using synthetic biology. After this, it transfers the DNA to Microsoft for further steps.
According to the latest reports, a single gram of the long-chain DNA can store 1,000,000,000 TB or a zettabyte.
“As our digital data continues to expand exponentially, we need new methods for long-term, secure data storage,” says Microsoft Research’s Doug Carmean in the press release.
How is data stored in a DNA molecule?
If you remember your high school biology, you might be knowing that a DNA molecule is made up of 4 based — Adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).
Their different combinations appear on a chain of DNA and they encode the biological information. To store the data on a DNA strand, the researchers convert the zeroes and ones of a digital file using the combinations of these four DNA-building blocks.
The big difficulty with the DNA storage is the writing the data and then reading it. Over the past years, this genetic sequencing process has become cheaper. With further research and development, if this technology could be made cheap enough, DNA storage could evolve as a long-term data archiving method.