Hugely expensive, but fascinating.
Digital Data Can Now Be Stored In DNA, Thanks To Stanford Researchers | TPM Idea Lab
Forget saving files to flash drives and cloud servers. Now, digital information can be stored in the DNA of living organisms, thanks to a breakthrough discovery by researchers at Stanford University in California.
A trio of scientists successfully demonstrated the ability to flip the direction of DNA molecules in sample E.coli bacteria in two directions, mimicking the “1s” and “0s” of binary code, which is at the root of all modern computer calculations.
“Essentially, if the DNA section points in one direction, it’s a zero. If it points the other way, it’s a one,” said Pakpoom Subsoontorn, a bioengineering graduate student at Stanford involved in the research, in an article on the Stanford School of Medicine website.
As a result, the researchers were able to get bacteria cells to glow either red or green under ultraviolet light, and were even able to arrange the colors to spell out specific messages in petri dishes holding the bacteria. (Photo above)
The maximum total “file size” of the data stored using the method is currently restricted to one bit per cell, but the researchers are confident they can get it up to 8-bits, or one byte, of rewritable storage capacity by increasing the number of recombination enzymes within the data.
Their method, called recombinase addressable data (RAD), works because scientists are able to control the precise amount of enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions, within each of the single E.coli bacteria cells.