With a smart phone, you can look up applications, videos, check out Facebook, read tweets and listen to music. But all of those data cannot be stored in phones. They need to keep somewhere else. As of now, companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook store those data on magnetic tapes or in other media. It’s an ever-growing library of data that takes up lots of space in sprawling data centers. Even the best storage media last only a few decades, and so they need to be replaced. But there may be some better way to keep and guard information safe, some researchers said. Store and retrieve it — with DNA.
Computers currently store data as series of 0s and 1s. But data also can be written using the four building blocks of DNA, said Luis Ceze. He is a computer architect at the University of Washington in Seattle, he studied how computers and data systems were designed.
DNA holds the genetic information that tells each cell inside a molecule. Each side of a DNA molecule’s twisted, ladder-like structure is made up of four chemical building blocks. They’re called nucleotides and and are known as A, T, C and G. (The letters stand for adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine.) In various combinations, these letters spell out the code for our genes.
In theory, “a volume of DNA, the size of a sugar cube could hold as much data as a Walmart-sized storage center” Ceze said. He added, DNA can hold lots of information in a tiny space. Unlike magnetic tape, DNA can last unchanged for thousands of years.
Ceze’s team, included people from Microsoft has reported its new update on April 6 in Atlanta. The report on DNA was presented at the International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems.