Who needs a flash drive…

when you’ve got DNA?

Japanese scientists say it might be possible to use DNA to store text, images, music and other digital data for thousands of years inside living organisms.

Masaru Tomita and colleagues at Tokyo’s Keio University say data encoded in an organism’s DNA, and inherited by each new generation, could be safely archived for hundreds of thousands of years, becoming the perfect storage medium. In contrast, CD-ROMs, flash memory and hard disk drives can easily fall victim to accidents or natural disasters.

The researchers describe a method for copying and pasting data, encoded as artificial DNA, into the genome of Bacillus subtilis, a common soil bacterium, “thus acquiring versatile data storage and the robustness of data inheritance.”

The scientists demonstrated the method by using a strain of B. subtilis to store the message: “E=MC2 1905!” — Albert Einstein’s famous 1905 energy-mass equivalence equation.

“We suggest that this simple, flexible and robust method offers a practical solution to data storage and retrieval challenges in combination with other, previously published techniques,” the report states.

The research is scheduled to appear in the April 9 issue of the journal Biotechnology Progress.

Science fictional twist: turns out Earth is nothing but a giant disk drive for ancient, superpowerful aliens, who have been storing records for millions of years in the DNA of life on this planet…and now they’ve decided it’s time to re-format…

Permanent link to this article: https://edwardwillett.com/2007/02/who-needs-a-flash-drive/

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