Life & Technology

DNA Storage Automatized by Microsoft


The news about DNA storage is not new, but the fact that a system can make it automatically is new. Microsoft and the researchers from the University of Washington are currently searching for a way to replace the data centers with DNA. But what does it consist? The process is to translate digital information into DNA and back to bits for advanced storage technology, in an automatic way.

Their first attempt was with a $10.000 prototype of “HELLO” converted into DNA.  The process is to first encode the bits, for example, 1’s and 0’s into DNA sequences. After that, the DNA is being synthesized and stored in a liquid form. After they store the DNA, a DNA sequencer is reading it. At the end of the process, the sequences are decoded by a software that translates it back into bits.

All this automatic process is taking around 21 hours and a 5-byte message. But Microsoft and the researchers want to reduce the time required for conversion up to 10 hours as well as the cost.

If we are talking about sizes, from bits to mg, an “HELLO” has approximately 1 mg of DNA. According to Technology Review, if this automatic process of storing data is perfected, it could save all the information that is now in many warehouses. And it’s impressive that everything can fit into a standard-size dice.

Because DNA is held up in many forms, like bones, fossils, and mammoths, this solution to solving the data storage could be efficient. So Microsoft and other tech companies are trying their best to come up with the perfect version of this system.

Microsoft’s goal is to have an operational storage system for DNA inside of a data center by the end of this decade. Until then, they must find an efficient way of synthesizing DNA in terms of cost and automatization.

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