Shakespeare’s Sonnets Stored in DNA
It’s not enough to have a love of the Bard in your blood. Soon you may need to have a backup copy of his works stored in DNA.
Though it’s not a practical data-storage solution just yet, data stored in synthesized DNA is a reality. Scientists from the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in the UK report that they can encode and store 2.2 petabytes* of data in one gram of DNA. For their experiment, the results of which were published this week in the journal Nature, the scientists encoded a text document of Shakespeare’s sonnets, a sound clip from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a photo of EBI, and a PDF of a scientific paper on DNA structure. It all took up less space than a speck of dust and was deemed completely accurate when retrieved.
I won’t be delaying my purchase of a couple of terabytes of external storage, but I will be keeping an eye on Nature (both the world and the journal) for the next best thing in data storage. Some people may buy the White Album [mild profanity in video clip] with each step forward in technology. I’m more concerned with keeping viable copies of my favorite resources and texts (including Shakespeare and MLK) and the last round of edits I did.
* 1 petabyte = 1000 terabytes; 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes