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Scientists Discover Method to Store Data on DNA

Scientists have developed a method to store data on DNA and expects it to become an adequate alternative to hard discs within a decade.

Researches from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) have successfully created a way to store data in DNA-centric strands. MP3s, PDFs, text files and photos can now be stored in the form DNA and doesn't require any power. They believe the data stored should last for tens of thousands of years.

"We already know that DNA is a robust way to store information because we can extract it from wooly mammoth bones, which date back tens of thousands of years, and make sense of it," said Nick Goldman of EMBL-EBI. "It's also incredibly small, dense and does not need any power for storage, so shipping and keeping it is easy."

At the storage density achieved, a single gram of DNA is able to hold 2.2 million gigabits of information, which is around 468,000 DVDs. The researchers also added an error correction scheme, as well as encoding the information a number of times in order to ensure that data is read back with 100% accuracy.

The technology is currently unable to launch as combining DNA from encoded information is a considerably intensive and expensive operation. That said, the researchers estimate that the price will decrease enough to become palpable in the coming years.

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