Could DNA as an archival medium be the solution to our information overload?
The 144 words of Robert Frost’s seminal poem “The Road Not Taken” fit neatly onto a single printed page. Or in a 1-kilobyte data file. Or, in Hyunjun Park’s hands, in a few drops of water at the bottom of a pink Eppendorf tube. Well, really what’s inside the water: invisible floating strands of DNA.
Scientists have long touted DNA’s potential as an ideal storage medium; it’s dense, easy to replicate, and stable over millennia. And in the past few years, researchers have encoded all kinds of things in those strings of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs: War and Peace, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” a galloping horse GIF. But in order to replace existing silicon-chip or magnetic-tape storage technologies, DNA will have to get a lot cheaper to predictably read, write, and package. Read More…