Feeds

Squillions of bytes in one cup of DNA

I/O is rubbish, but DNA will be around once the LTO standard is dust

SANS - Survey on application security programs

It’s not the first time that digital data has been encoded on DNA, but new research published today in Nature brings bio-storage a significant step closer to reality.

Scientists have previously demonstrated that DNA is viable as a digital storage medium – for example, Stanford University demonstrated last year that a bit written onto DNA could survive cell reproduction.

Both reading and writing DNA are error-prone, particularly if a DNA ‘letter’ repeats in the string, and it’s only possible to manufacture short strings of DNA at the moment. It’s these problems the researchers have worked to address.

In their paper, the researchers describe a technique to encode manufactured DNA to avoid code repetition.

As co-author Ewan Birney explains:

“We knew we needed to make a code using only short strings of DNA, and to do it in such a way that creating a run of the same letter would be impossible. So we figured, let's break up the code into lots of overlapping fragments going in both directions, with indexing information showing where each fragment belongs in the overall code, and make a coding scheme that doesn't allow repeats. That way, you would have to have the same error on four different fragments for it to fail – and that would be very rare.”

In his demonstration, Birney and fellow-researcher Nick Goldman, both of the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute, called on Agilent Technologies to help them encode a variety of content onto manufactured DNA: a jpg photo of the EMBL-EBI, a PDF of the Watson and Crick paper that first described DNA, a txt file containing all of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and an mp3 of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

All of this went onto manufactured DNA strings “as big as a speck of dust”, Agilent’s Emily Leproust said – meaning that a cupful of DNA would hold “a hundred million hours of high-definition video”.

While you won’t see DNA replacing the RAM in your computer, the researchers say its density and longevity – it can be decoded from creatures long-dead such as woolly mammoths – make it an ideal archival medium. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery
SpaceX reports Falcon booster made controlled touchdown in ocean
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.