Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Will you store my data in your DNA?

Even as an educated man with advance degrees in medicine, and board certification in Florida as a cosmetic surgeon, I really get excited when I read something  remarkable – unbelievable – life changing – unique – something with a “wow” factor. 

We all realize we live in an age of information.  We are adding to our store of knowledge, facts and figures at an unbelievable pace.  But with that growth come the problems of organizing information and, of course, “storage”.  Data can be stored on hard disks but that is expensive and requires constant electricity to hold the information. Data also can be stored on magnetic media, but they can deteriorate over the years.

Scientists now are looking at storing mountains of data on of all things, DNA molecules!  

That’s right – DNA molecules – the same molecules that hold the key to human life.  Scientists just recently were able to store text as well as audio files on fragments of DNA.  The audio files had almost perfect fidelity or sound.  

The euroded data and audiophiler were retrieved with 99.99% accuracy – in my book, that is beyond amazing. Just think of the volumes of data that needs storage – books, music, records from large multinational corporations, data on health records - the list is endless.

DNA is stable, durable, dense, and because it is not “living” it can sit in dry storage indefinitely.  Scientists estimate a “cup” of DNA could store, get this, 100 million hours of high definition video.  That is amazing!  Unbelievable!  As exciting as this is, commercial use of DNA for storage is some time off but the direction of research and new discoveries is exciting and amazing.



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