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Research Backed by Microsoft may Enable Storage of Data in DNA

Research Backed by Microsoft may Enable Storage of Data in DNA

The tech giants are attempting to find viable ways to store data with a much higher density, and for longer periods of time

Experts are touting this century as the era of data, and rightly so, as the world is collectively producing so much data, that there are problems arising regarding how to store this data. In fact, this is a problem that is being faced by many for quite some time now. It is this dearth of space, which gave rise to the concept of cloud computing, and now, Microsoft have teamed up with the University of Washington, to devise a method to store data inside a DNA sample.

The concept may sound highly absurd. However, with the help of automation processes, it is not just theoretically possible, but also near implementation, as the Microsoft backed research has successfully encoded and decoded a simple piece of data in a synthetically fabricated DNA sample. The research team, encoded the word ‘hello’, into a part of the synthetic DNA, from where an automated system, retracted the information as digital data.

Being able to store data within DNA, comes with a range of added advantages. It is much smaller in size, and can store data with much greater density, than conventional data centers of today. Also, DNA can withstand the test of time, fossil samples dated back to millions of years, contain DNA traces, thus information stored within DNA, will last for a much longer time. However, the tests have only been run on synthetically formulated DNA samples, and are yet to be tested on human, or any other animal’s DNA.

“We’re currently at the research stage, and this was an engineering exercise to understand the challenges related to building hybrid molecular-electronic systems, it’s still early days; we’re learning so much and excited to see what could be possible. We take an end-to-end system approach to how we look at the technology,” says Karin Strauss, principal researcher at Microsoft