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Biotech Data Storage Science Technology

Scientists Store Entire Textbook In DNA 160

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-where-are-the-tiny-spectacles? dept.
sciencehabit writes with this mind-boggling bit from Science Magazine: "When it comes to storing information, hard drives don't hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA — one trillionth of a gram — an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data."
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Scientists Store Entire Textbook In DNA

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  • Re:How fast? (Score:5, Informative)

    by coldandcalculating (1311907) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:56PM (#41015699)
    The fastest DNA polymerases can copy a template at around 250 bases/sec. Chemical DNA synthesis is much slower.

    As for read speeds, DNA sequencing can be done serially (500-800 bases in a matter of hours - 1 cent per base) or massively parallel (100-200 bases per read; 100 million reads; overnight - $1000 per chip by year's end?)

    Tools allowing for rapid synthesis (write) and sequencing (read) of DNA would enable a biotech revolution similar in scope and impact to the computing revolution of the last century. As far as I know, this technology is still incredibly far away, but definitely merits relentless R&D.
  • Re:At a gaga act. (Score:4, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:03PM (#41015803)

    What sort of textbook can you write with nothing but G, A, T, and C?

    The same sort of textbook you can write in zeroes and ones, but in base 4 instead of base 2.

    Happy now?

    --
    BMO

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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