All of the digital storage devices we use – flash drives, hard drives, magnetic and optical media, degrade after a few years. But Microsoft and the University of Washington have stored 200 megabytes of data in something that will preserve information for centuries - DNA. Researchers have successfully transferred the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in over 100 languages and a video of the band OK Go's'This Too Shall Pass' on one molecular strand. Microsoft and the University of Washington have stored 200 megabytes of data in something that will preserver information for centuries -- DNA. The duo announced has transferred the Universal Declaration of human Rights in over 100 languages, the top 100 classic books and a high-definition music video of the band OK Go's'This Too Shall Pass' on one molecular strand The researchers began with a method that converts the long strings of ones and zeros in digital data into the four basic blocks of DNA sequences – adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine.
DNA isn't the only molecule we could use for digital storage. It turns out that solutions containing sugars, amino acids and other small molecules could replace hard drives too. Jacob Rosenstein and his colleagues at Brown University, Rhode Island, stored and retrieved pictures of an Egyptian cat, an ibex and an anchor using an array of these small molecules. They say the approach could make storage that is less vulnerable to hacking and that could function in more extreme environmental conditions. Inspired by recent research showing that it is possible to store data on DNA, Rosenstein's team wanted to see if smaller and simpler molecules could also encode abstract information.
The'digital universe' is expected to hit 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, which exceeds our storage capabilities. In order to make up for this lack of space, researchers have developed a technique that stores digital information within DNA. While the idea has been tried before, now researchers have encoded digital data from image files into a nucleotide sequence of synthetic DNA snippets and reversed the process to retrieve them – with zero data loss. In order to make up for this lack of space, researchers have developed a technique that stores digital images within the faint pink smear of DNA that sits at the end of a test tube. The researchers began with a method that converts the long strings of ones and zeros in digital data into the four basic blocks of DNA sequences – adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine.
Imagine a future where all the data in the world is stored in a device the size of a shoebox. In a significant step toward realizing this vision, Microsoft on Thursday announced that it had successfully stored 200MB of data on strands of synthetic DNA, surpassing the previous record of 22MB. In a statement released Thursday, Microsoft, which sought the help of researchers from the University of Washington and the San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience for the project, said that the data, once encoded, occupied an area smaller than the tip of a pencil. "It's essentially a test tube and you can barely see what's in it," Karin Strauss, the principal Microsoft researcher on the project, said. "It looks like a little bit of salt was dried in the bottom."
For scientists developing new drugs, knowing the structure of the molecules involved down to the atomic level can mean the difference between a new treatment and failure. Current imaging techniques are unable to work out the structure of some key proteins and other important biological molecules, leading to gaps in knowledge. But researchers in Australia are looking to an offshoot from quantum computing to solve the problem, essentially developing quantum MRI scanners to image individual atoms, which could lead to the development of new drugs. In a mind-bending piece of theoretical research, a team at the University of Melbourne is hoping to use quantum bits to'sense' individual atoms. More known for their role in quantum computing, quantum bits, or qubits, are the able to encode multiple states at once, compared with the traditional binary of 1's and 0's.