DNA set to replace the hard drive

18 August 2015 - 02:12 By ©The Daily Telegraph

DNA could be used to store digital information and preserve essential knowledge for thousands of years. Scientists exploring the archiving potential of DNA conducted a test in which error-free data was downloaded after the equivalent of 2000 years.The next challenge is to find a way of searching for information encoded in strands of DNA floating in a drop of liquid.Lead researcher Dr Robert Grass said DNA had a "language" not unlike the binary code in computers. While a hard drive uses zeros and ones to represent data, the DNA code is written in sequences of four chemical nucleotides.DNA can pack more information into a smaller space, and has the advantage of durability. In theory, a fraction of an ounce of DNA could store more than 300000 terabytes of data, said Grass. And archaeological finds had shown that DNA dating back hundreds of thousands of years could still be sequenced today. ..

There’s never been a more important time to support independent media.

From World War 1 to present-day cosmopolitan South Africa and beyond, the Sunday Times has been a pillar in covering the stories that matter to you.

For just R80 you can become a premium member (digital access) and support a publication that has played an important political and social role in South Africa for over a century of Sundays. You can cancel anytime.

Already subscribed? Sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.