News & Events
Scientists have found a way to efficiently store data in DNA materials.
- July 16, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
Colorful sugar crystals under the microscope using polarized light
DNA has an extremely complex structure, about which we all have a very long time already known that we are not capable of storing a huge amount of a wide variety of information about us. Thus, scientists from Brown University decided to study DNA more deeply, and as a result of the research, it was found that data like amino acid and sugar can be stored without effort in solutions of artificial metabolic molecules. The presence or absence of the corresponding molecule, in turn, creates one bit of data, and the final complexity of the mixture can be a determining factor for how many bits, that is, molecules, the test mixture can contain. The researchers in their study used the following method: they placed thousands of different similar mixtures of interest on tiny metal plates that look like “nanoscale droplets”. Then they used a mass spectrometer to decode various data after drying these very drops. Scientists, using this method, could save and with an accuracy of about 99 percent get the images of anchor preserved in DNA, an ibex, as well as an Egyptian cat. Yes, of course, your DNA is not the place where you would like to store any, even if very sensitive information, because such a repository may in the future harm you. Just imagine the case if one percent of the data stored on your phone was damaged. With the storage of information in the DNA acts almost the same principle. Nevertheless, in any case, this is a very significant scientific breakthrough, which clearly makes us understand that such an idea of storing information is really workable and has the right to life.
Scientists themselves were quick to characterize their discovery as irrefutable evidence that having reduced the size of the plates even more, the processes of writing and reading data can be several times faster. The theory of the fact that DNA is best suited for processing not small, but rather, relatively large amounts of data has also been confirmed once again. In any case, it should be understood that over time, such molecular storages will receive significant development and can become something like modern flash drives or hard drives. Molecules that have appeared using DNA and nanoscale plates are much smaller in size than the ordinary DNA molecule. Also, these “lamellar” molecules do not require energy for their work and normal functioning, which in turn also means that they can be much more stable in the future than the usual electronic memory types we are used to, since they are much more resistant to the most diverse, even extreme environmental conditions. In other words, molecular storage is the future.