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Researchers Cram 700TB of Data Into One Gram of DNA

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August 27, 2012 7:45:49 PM

DNA gets broken down very fast by microbes.
I wonder how they can prevent them from getting at the DNA?
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August 27, 2012 7:58:28 PM

pacioliDNA gets broken down very fast by microbes.I wonder how they can prevent them from getting at the DNA?


Well, if the data magically gets transformed by a virus, that will help me explain all that 700TB of po...
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August 27, 2012 7:58:36 PM

This is really interesting. That is an insane amount of data in such a little volume of material. And it's DNA no less. Just the thought that we can write information onto DNA and read it back is mind-blowing. That would be really cool if people wrote to DNA instead of HDD's and SSD's in the future. (Probably not, but one can fantasize; this sounds very sci-fi-like).
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August 27, 2012 8:04:31 PM

Ok, so the process is costly and lengthy for reading writing to a DNA storage. What if they use a simpler and bigger version of a DNA? I don't mind carrying 700 TB in the size of a.... 3.5" HDD.
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August 27, 2012 8:07:13 PM

If spintronics ever proves viable, we might still get it to write huge amount of data in an even smaller volumes of space yet.
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August 27, 2012 8:28:09 PM

JohmamaThis is really interesting. That is an insane amount of data in such a little volume of material. And it's DNA no less. Just the thought that we can write information onto DNA and read it back is mind-blowing. That would be really cool if people wrote to DNA instead of HDD's and SSD's in the future. (Probably not, but one can fantasize; this sounds very sci-fi-like).


It's really not that surprising to me, because the parallels between how life works and how computers work seem extremely strong. If you think about it in the context of computer code, even the similarities in DNA among different living organisms make sense. Most of the core code will be similar and shared, regardless of the task the program performs.

Maybe it is no coincidence that humans developed computer technology because it reflects how we ourselves work, and consequently, also how we think.
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August 27, 2012 8:29:50 PM

I also think that at some point, we will be able to produce a debugger for DNA.

It will never be an easy task, similar to how it would not be an easy task to figure out how a large complex program like Windows 7 works without having access to the source code, but I believe it will all make sense when we can fully reverse-engineer it.
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August 27, 2012 8:35:02 PM

They could store all of the 2011 digital world in 4 grams of DNA O.o

That is the same weight as a teaspoon of sugar. Wow.
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2012 8:36:08 PM

Perhaps, human DNA contains volumes of stored data, information or messages from our creator(s), if you believe in creationism.
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August 27, 2012 8:42:36 PM

Forget cloud storage: You could literally keep all of your personal information on you at all times
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2012 8:48:32 PM

Send me a hard drive based on this technology or it didn't happen.
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August 27, 2012 9:09:06 PM

mikewongOk, so the process is costly and lengthy for reading writing to a DNA storage. What if they use a simpler and bigger version of a DNA? I don't mind carrying 700 TB in the size of a.... 3.5" HDD.

The size of DNA is the size of DNA... there is no larger version.
The only difference is the length of the DNA chain... but a shorter span of DNA would carry less information. For all practical purposes, there is no difference in size between what would store 1 kilobyte of information vs 100000 terabyte of information. It's all ridiculously tiny.
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August 27, 2012 9:12:08 PM

Data Mutation anyone ?

You store a bunch of chick flicks in your DNA memory and a few years later when you play them back they all mutated into Zombie movies.

OK, had too much silly juice again :-)
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August 27, 2012 9:14:35 PM

I'm just imagining getting up in the morning and instead of turning the computer on I would be feeding it, making sure it has water, cleaning it's litter tray, giving it a pat on the head and then asking it to checking my facebook ....lol
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2012 9:36:31 PM

DNA in solution does not survive for thousands of years. It undergoes spontaneous decomposition. It is for a very good reason that our cells are armed with a variety of repair processes to maintain their DNA's integrity.
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August 27, 2012 9:40:26 PM

If they mixed up the DNA sample in someone's gene therapy we could have walking libraries. They can call it the super librarian serum.
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August 27, 2012 9:41:39 PM

I wonder what Johnny (The Mnemonic) would've said...
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
August 27, 2012 9:44:52 PM

Pretty soon humans would be able to have personal copies of all the digital information in the world. Wikipedia would be rendered "idle".
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August 27, 2012 9:49:55 PM

Ha getting a computer "virus" would now have a whole new meaning
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August 27, 2012 10:47:23 PM

mechanusPretty soon humans would be able to have personal copies of all the digital information in the world.

"I carry all my porn with me".
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August 27, 2012 11:10:30 PM

1 gram of DNA is how much? Nice to give something a measurement of volume, but a reference point would have helped. Lets compare to a grain of sand.

Assuming an average weight of 68 milligrams / grain then it takes 15.4 grains of sand = 1 gram

DNA is very tiny, so tiny its weighed in Daltons. so lets do a grain of sand in Daltons.

One gain of sand weighs 3.9X10^22 Daltons (39,022,820,000,000,000,000,000) or 39 sextillion daltons.

One molecule of DNA weights about 1 million daltons
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002796.html

39 sextillion / 1 million is a much easier number only 39 quadrillion, or 39 million billions. Now lets make that even easier, instead of using 700 terabytes, lets use bytes instead. Divide that number by 700 trillion and you are down to a respectable 55.7 bytes.

Now multiple by 15.4 (grains of sand / gram) so we can extrapolate our final results.

The original article writers could have easily stated this is simple terms instead of using a grossly over scale measurement such as a gram.

A single strand of DNA holds roughly 850 bytes of data.










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August 28, 2012 12:01:22 AM

Anyone remember the article about how there was petabytes or something of data in human sperm?
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August 28, 2012 12:58:54 AM

So how many bytes of data do my body store?
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August 28, 2012 1:10:39 AM

And remember: Yautja race has triple-helix DNA chain.
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August 28, 2012 1:27:52 AM

bobusboyForget cloud storage: You could literally keep all of your personal information on you at all times

actually it's very hard to do that in cells, they provide less density plus data would be easily mutated
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a b G Storage
August 28, 2012 3:56:22 AM

Just wait and see... The RIAA and MPAA will try to outlaw DNA polymerase.
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August 28, 2012 4:35:08 AM

If there would one day be a way to use DNA to transmit data over a network at efficient speeds, we would pretty much be covered as far as internet bandwidth for years to come. Hopefully it wouldn't require quantum entanglement or it would be likely that none of us would be around to see it come to fruition, but who knows what the future holds. Very exciting breakthrough.
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a b G Storage
August 28, 2012 4:45:22 AM

thecolorblueThe size of DNA is the size of DNA... there is no larger version.The only difference is the length of the DNA chain... but a shorter span of DNA would carry less information. For all practical purposes, there is no difference in size between what would store 1 kilobyte of information vs 100000 terabyte of information. It's all ridiculously tiny.


100000 terabytes would need a lot of DNA. It would take many grams if 700TB fit into a single gram. It would take almost 143 grams and that is not a ridiculously tiny amount at all. That's more than 14% of a kilogram.
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August 28, 2012 11:23:22 AM

fb39ca4Anyone remember the article about how there was petabytes or something of data in human sperm?

if i remember it was about speed (bandwidth)
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August 28, 2012 12:06:03 PM

bobusboyForget cloud storage: You could literally keep all of your personal information on you at all times

Probably not, your DNA already has information stored in it (about you). You'd need to overwrite that, but that way your DNA wouldn't be a part of you anymore.
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August 28, 2012 3:46:57 PM

Like nearly every article I've seen you get it wrong.

IT'S NOT USING ACTUAL DNA!
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a b G Storage
August 28, 2012 3:56:02 PM

Kami3kLike nearly every article I've seen you get it wrong.IT'S NOT USING ACTUAL DNA!


If you're going to make a claim like that, would you at least explain why this is wrong?
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October 1, 2012 11:43:08 PM

I want a DNA drive!
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October 2, 2012 3:36:37 PM

Johnny Neumonic
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October 2, 2012 3:37:29 PM

don't forget Jurassic Park
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October 4, 2012 2:30:51 PM

"Back up all your data on a gram of DNA"

That ought to come out soon
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!