Information technology

Textbook encoded in DNA

    A 5.27-megabit book containing more than 53,000 words, 11 digital images and a computer program has been encoded in DNA — the largest amount of non-biological data yet stored in this way.

    Sriram Kosuri at Harvard's Wyss Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and his colleagues created nearly 55,000 different short DNA strands, or oligonucleotides, each containing 159 nucleotides. Of these, 96 represent data in the form of 1's and 0's, 19 show how the oligonucleotides should be ordered, and 44 facilitate sequencing. The researchers designed their system such that the DNA's A and C bases represent 0, with G and T corresponding to 1. Sequencing the DNA molecules allows the data to be decoded.

    The technology, although currently too costly for routine use, stores information more densely than is possible with conventional devices.

    Science http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1226355 (2012)

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    For a longer story on this research, see http://go.nature.com/i56h26

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    Textbook encoded in DNA. Nature 488, 433 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/488433c

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