Data storage soon to be moved to… bacteria?

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Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have recently demonstrated that successful storage and encryption of data can take place within 1 gram of E. Coli bacteria.  Yes, someday (a long way away) your Xbox or PS3 (if we still have those) might have a hard drive populated by nothing more than some nasty organisms.   According to the research, the DNA of just 18 bacterial cells have enough “memory” to store the Declaration of Independence.  Whats more, there are ten million cells in one gram of biological material.  Thus, about 90GB of storage can take place in just 1 gram of bacteria.  Plus, encryption is natural because “using the natural process of site specific genetic recombination: information is scrambled by recombinase genes, whose actions are controlled by a transcription factor.”  (Yes, I don’t understand that part either, but it is still cool.)   Of course, there are still issues.  Retrieval of  the data requires a sequencer.  That can be a tedious and expensive affair.  Not to mention the fact that toxic DNA is present within the stored sequences, and it is possible that organisms will mutate, remove such sequences, and delete some of the data.  But, this is just a taste of the future, and with time, hopefully these issues will be ironed out.

Read the journal entry here.

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