Is DNA as a Hard Drive possible??

Not only could you fit all of the major tech companies’ data onto one gram of your DNA, but there would be room left over. It’s estimated that a gram of DNA could hold 455 exabytes of data. (For reference, one exabyte is equivalent to one billion gigabytes.) DNA’s longevity (in proper storage conditions) means that people could theoretically retrieve stored data after thousands of years with few, if any, errors. The main obstacle in the way of converting DNA into hard drives is the expense: synthesizing and sequencing DNA costs tens of thousands of dollars.

There’s also another reason why this personalized biological hard drive may not be the best option. We do not yet have the technology to read it. Take a virus, for example like Human Papillomavirus (HPV). It causes warts and can stick around for years. It could represent the best route to store valuable personal information. But Dr. Narayan points out it may not be entirely useful. “Even if you did manage to incorporate your personal information into the HPV genome (you couldn’t add much – the genome is very small) remember using today’s technology the DNA has to be extracted, fragmented and sequenced in a laboratory.”

There is little doubt the future of the DNA hard drive is bright. Yet while the biological aspects may be perfectly suited for a variety of applications, the economic and logistic hurdles suggest we should only focus on a few aspirations. For Dr. Narayan, the answer to the future of the DNA hard drive is clear. “DNA as a medium for archival storage may have place in digital storage.” But as he points out much to the chagrin of anyone looking for that perfect human/synthetic hybrid: “as a medium for the human/digital approach, not so much.”

See related video

Using DNA as a hard drive


Source: Popular Science

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