Microsoft researchers store and retrieve ‘hello’ message from DNA (VIDEO)

With a ‘hello,’ Microsoft and UW demonstrate first fully automated DNA data storage. — Microsoft handout pic via AFP-Relaxnews
With a ‘hello,’ Microsoft and UW demonstrate first fully automated DNA data storage. — Microsoft handout pic via AFP-Relaxnews

SEATTLE, March 22 — Microsoft researchers have been working with those from the University of Washington to develop the “first fully automated system to store and retrieve data in manufactured DNA,” a process which has been described in a paper published yesterday by Nature Scientific Reports.

The experiment is simply a proof-of-concept test, but the research team was able to encode “hello” into bits of synthesised DNA and then convert it back into digital data using a “fully automated end-to-end system;” the conversion of those five letters took 21 hours.

Because DNA is orders of magnitude smaller than the datacentres that store digital information today, it can potentially be used as a new means to store everything from “business records and cute animal videos to medical scans and images from outer space.”

All the data stored in a warehouse-sized datacentre could be reduced to the size of a couple standard board game dice if stored via DNA. Additionally, DNA could last much longer than the current tech used to store information which is expected only to survive a couple decades.

Right now, the cost of creating synthetic DNA and then retrieving stored information from it is still too high for commercial use, but the proof-of-concept is a significant step towards reducing the size and footprint of today’s datacentres. — AFP-Relaxnews  

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