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Microsoft, university researchers break DNA data storage record

Lucas Mearian | July 11, 2016
Researchers also talk about the amount of space they had to be able to store it in-which was far more impressive.

"A significant fraction of this data is in archival form; for example, Facebook recently built an entire data center dedicated to 1 exabyte of cold storage," the scientists stated in their research paper.

Researchers have been experimenting with DNA as a data-storage medium for more than a dozen years, but it has progressed quickly. In 1999, DNA-based storage involved encoding and recovering just a 23-character message.

dna photos data storage


In April, Microsoft and GW researchers were able to store these three image files, which were synthesized and sequenced in DNA.

By 2013, scientists from U.K.-based EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute claimed they'd encoded an MP3 version of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech in DNA.

In April, Microsoft and UW researchers released their paper detailing how synthetic DNA could be used as a form of archival storage.

"DNA is an amazing information storage molecule that encodes data about how a living system works. We're repurposing that capacity to store digital data -- pictures, videos, documents," Ceze said. "This is one important example of the potential of borrowing from nature to build better computer systems."


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