In the future, you will be storing data not into megabytes or gigabytes, but into DNA. In what comes as a significant achievement, Microsoft and researchers from the University of Washington have been able to translate digital information into DNA and then back to bits.
Together, the researchers have been able to build a full end-to-end automated DNA storage device, Engadget reports.
The prototype device converted the word ‘Hello’ into DNA. The device first encoded the bits (1's and 0's) into DNA sequences (A's, C's, T's, G's). It then synthesized the DNA and stored it as a liquid. This was then read by a DNA sequencer, and a software translated the sequences back into bits.
The entire process for the 5-byte message took 21 hours to convert back and forth. The researchers have come up with ways to make the process both time and cost efficient.
The data converted through this process from the word Hello yielded approximately 1 mg of DNA, and just 4 micrograms were retained for sequencing. This basically means, the current requirement of having warehouse-sized data centres could do away for a few standard-size dice using this method.
The device is still a proof-of-concept, however, Microsoft hopes it will advance DNA storage technology.