Bacteria May Replace Disk Storage


JD at the blog TechFun had a link to an article about physicists discovering a way to store light as sound, thereby increasing the storage capacity of memory devices used in telecommunications networks. That reminded me of an article I read somewhere several months ago.

In Japan, scientists have discovered a method of inserting data into the DNA of bacteria. Using present methods, which are expected to get better, they can insert 200,000 characters into the DNA of one bacterium. They have even developed a method to to read the results of the insertion to verify its accuracy. Imagine being able to store the entire contents of the Library of Congress in a few drops of bacteria containing liquid.

I remember them being quoted saying 5 grams of DNA can store the same amount of information as a computer hard drive 150 hectares in area. If my calculations are correct, that is a hard drive almost 6/10ths of a square mile in area. This encoded data is passed from generation to generation of bacteria, so the storage capacity is long term. I don’t think there is any practical application for this yet, but you can be sure they are working on it. And to think we only used to have to worry about genetically altered food.

When this technology does begin to be used, I do wonder how we will back up our data? Automated, nightly, bacterial transfers sounds too weird to even imagine.

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Will Sig
1 Mike Touch

This is an amazing idea. Not really very pratical though.

The time taken to read and write would make this only useful for long term storage and even then DNA mutations may make the data unreadable.


2 Medical Oddities

Wow, that is amazing. I’ve never heard anything like that before. Quite an interesting post, this is something new to tell my friends. 😛

Medical Odditiess last blog post..Liberty Medical Supplies


3 Marsh

Bacteria? Unlike DNA it can be reproduced, so yeah…… I don’t think it would be a smart idea. Of course the capacity of data would be much greater, but there would be a possibility of redundancy issues and insecurity. I don’t see it taking off.


4 Bart

hi, what will happened if the bacteria died? what will happen to the files we stored from bacteria?


5 mac

This is the main theme in the book “Breakthrough” by R. J. Pineiro


6 Will

And available on Amazon for a couple of dollars: Breakthrough


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