DNA to Store Infinite Data Forever
Can it be true? Twist Bioscience, a company accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis, just struck a contract with Microsoft and the University of Washington to encode vast amounts of information on synthetic genes.
Put simply, they will make and use synthetic DNA to store digital data.
All digital data needs to be stored on media. It needs to be re-encoded from time to time. New methods for long-term, secure storage for large amount of data are badly needed, as the quantity of digital data is doubling every two years. And Twist Bioscience researchers have discovered new ways to stuff digital information into DNA, which can last thousands of years and stay intact.
According to Harvard scientists, about 700 terabytes can be stored in our genes, thus the new technology presents an incredible way to keep a lot of data in a small amount of space, for a really long time. The initial test phase has demonstrated that it was possible to encode and recover 100 percent of the digital data from synthetic DNA.
The whole idea is still in its infancy, as Twist Bioscience researchers are still testing out the idea of data storage in DNA. A commercially viable product isn’t likely to be ready for a few years yet; however, the early tests indicate the idea is possible, and the new era is coming.
Twist Bioscience has just announced that Microsoft Corp. has agreed to purchase ten million long oligonucleotides from Twist Bioscience to encode digital data and store it for several thousand years. The silicon-based DNA synthesis platform offers an unmatched scale and product quality.
“As our digital data continues to expand exponentially, we need new methods for long-term, secure data storage,” said Doug Carmean, a Microsoft partner architect within the company’s Technology and Research organization. “The initial test phase with Twist, demonstrated that we could encode and recover 100 percent of the digital data from synthetic DNA. We’re still years away from a commercially- viable product, but our early tests with Twist demonstrate that in the future, we’ll be able to substantially increase the density and durability of data storage.”
A single gram of DNA can store one trillion gigabytes (almost a zettabyte) of digital data.
About Twist Bioscience: They are a well-known startup, accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis. The company has developed a proprietary semiconductor-based synthetic DNA manufacturing process featuring a 10,000-well silicon platform capable of producing synthetic biology tools, including genes, oligonucleotide pools and variant libraries.