Microsoft Wants to Store Data in Synthetic DNA to Replace Hard Drives

Source: FreeRange

Tech startup Twist Bioscience, which focuses on DNA synthesis technology, announced on Wednesday it is embarking on a new initiative with Microsoft and the University of Washington to ultimately help Microsoft store digital data in synthetic DNA.

Microsoft has purchased 10 million long oligonucleotides from Twist Bioscience with the ambition of encoding vast amounts of data in the synthetic DNA. 

Read more: Meet the College Student Whose Homegrown Gene Lab Aims to Hack Human Intimacy

Synthetic DNA data storage is superior to current storage methods in two ways: Much more data can be contained in a much smaller amount of space, and the data can remain intact for at least a millennium (current technology's limit is a few decades), according to the New York Times.

"Today, the vast majority of digital data is stored on media that has a finite shelf life and periodically needs to be re-encoded," Twist Bioscience CEO Emily Leproust said, according to Morningstar. "DNA is a promising storage media, as it has a known shelf life of several thousand years, offers a permanent storage format and can be read for continuously decreasing costs."

Speaking to TechCrunch, Leproust put it in different terms: Using DNA, "you could fit all the knowledge in the whole world inside the trunk of your car." 

Mind. Blown. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Natasha Noman

Natasha is a News Staff Writer covering global affairs. She previously reported on regional affairs from Pakistan. Natasha is based in New York and can be reached at natasha@mic.com.

MORE FROM

California is making so much solar energy the rest of the country looks like a joke

They're literally paying other states to take their solar power.

This summer, Americans will get the rare chance to see a total solar eclipse

Anyone in the continental U.S. should mark their calendars.

"The floor is …" meme is for every millennial trying to grow up without leaving the past behind

When you were a kid, the floor was just lava. Now it's way more complicated.

The new iOS 11 beta is out and Apple has changed your iPhone's message effects again

A new iOS 11 beta is out and iMessage has a new trick.

We now basically know when the iOS 11 public beta is coming out

We have a much better idea of when the iOS 11 public beta is coming out.

Snapchat's new update reveals the key difference between Snap and Instagram

The Snap Map update makes perfect sense. Just ask Snapchat's teenage user base.

California is making so much solar energy the rest of the country looks like a joke

They're literally paying other states to take their solar power.

This summer, Americans will get the rare chance to see a total solar eclipse

Anyone in the continental U.S. should mark their calendars.

"The floor is …" meme is for every millennial trying to grow up without leaving the past behind

When you were a kid, the floor was just lava. Now it's way more complicated.

The new iOS 11 beta is out and Apple has changed your iPhone's message effects again

A new iOS 11 beta is out and iMessage has a new trick.

We now basically know when the iOS 11 public beta is coming out

We have a much better idea of when the iOS 11 public beta is coming out.

Snapchat's new update reveals the key difference between Snap and Instagram

The Snap Map update makes perfect sense. Just ask Snapchat's teenage user base.