JP Pritchard

Forget the Cloud: Scientists Tap Human DNA as Futuristic Storage Device

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AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

It can store the information from a million CDs in a space no bigger than your little finger, and could keep it safe for centuries. NEWS 92 FM’s Martha Martinez explains.

We’ve come a long way since this, and now technology is offering a new storage medium. It’s not a new electronic gadget. It’s DNA.

The genetic material has long held all the information needed to make plants and animals, and now some scientists say it could help handle the growing needs of today’s information society.

Researchers in England say they stored all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo, a scientific paper, and a 26-second sound clip from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on a barely visible bit of DNA in a test tube.

The ones and zeroes of digital information where converted into the four-letter alphabet of DNA code,which was used to create strands of synthetic DNA. Then machines retrieved the information.

The only problem is the retrieval process took two weeks, but researchers say they’ll be able to reduce that time.

According to a report in the journal “Nature,” DNA could be useful for keeping huge amounts of information that has to  be kept for a long time but not retrieved very often.

Experts say storing the DNA is simple. Just put it in a cold, dry, dark place and leave it alone.

Harvard researchers who published similar findings say the technology could let you store all of Wikipedia in the space of a fingertip, and all the world’s information now stored on disk drives could fit in the palm of your hand.

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