Bacteria explored as new data storage medium

Tokyo (Japan) - Researchers of the Keio University Institute for Advanced Biosciences and Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus announced development of a "new technology" that enables "long-term" data storage in bacterial DNA. According to JCN Newswire, the scientists were able to create "artificial" DNA that could preserve digital data within their genome sequence.

Since the DNA information is passed down from generation to generation, researchers believe that "large data files" could be saved in "long-term" scenarios, for example data backups.

The idea of using bacterial DNA as potential storage medium is not entirely new. Back in 2003, scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said that bacteria may lead the way to virtually indestructible storage media. At least in theory, data could be stored for as long as a specific organism is alive - and could survive even catastrophic events such as nuclear explosions.

"We are taking advantage of a time-tested, natural, nanoscale data storage technology perfected over the last 3 billion years," said Pak Wong, a chief scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in a conversation with Technology Research News at the time.

Storage capacity of bacterial DNA is very limited at this time and, but researchers believe that organisms carry the potential to save text, pictures, music and even video one day.