DNA digital data storage could be part of the answer to the impending Data Warming crisis.
DNA is a format that has survived for billions of years, therefore it is unlikely to be rendered obsolete, and is highly durable when kept in cold conditions.
DNA is not only the oldest but the most efficient and densest known data storage medium in the universe, currently allowing up to 200 petabytes of data to be stored per gram.
The current process of encoding and decoding binary data to and from synthesised DNA strands is currently relatively costly, time consuming, yet we are making significant progress every day.
Soon these costs will be less than $1 per terabyte of data and clean biological data storage will rival the current silicon industry.
All current data storage methods require gigantic sources of energy, putting a strain on our already strained environment on the one hand and vital energy resources on the other.
DNA is powered through natural processes. This means little to no electricity is required to keep data held in DNA alive and well.
While storing data in DNA is fairly well established, through our work to develop the Data Garden GYOC developed a data decoding pipeline using DNA sequencing equipment, which is able to read the genetic information of organisms and understand the composition of the ACGT molecules within. For more information please see the Data Garden
To do this, GYOC uses state of the art DNA sequencing equipment, which is able to read the genetic information of organisms and understand the composition of the ATCG molecules within. This involves threading strands of DNA through tiny apertures in a membrane, through which an electric current flows. As DNA bases pass, they disrupt the current in a characteristic way. This information is then processed using proprietary software to decode the messages to be displayed.
We carefully select the DNA strands to ensure there is no harm to the plants we work with. While these methods are currently expensive and technically challenging, in the near future, reading and writing data in this manner will be accessible to all.