"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.
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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