Earlier today I was browsing various websites searching for an interesting subject to write about when I came across an article about using DNA as digital storage space. Most of the article was very technical I nature, but I will try to explain how this can be done without boring you too much.
The article explains that DNA is made up of four types of “nucleotides” (labeled A, C, G, and T) that can be used in different combinations to make up peoples’ genes. It is very cleverly compared in the article to the way computers make up code through various series of ones and zeros. Scientists have figured out how to make synthetic DNA and can arrange it in a way so that each piece that goes into the DNA strand can represent certain numbers and letters. Large companies that require a vast amount of storage space can then use this DNA to store any information they want in a very tiny amount of space instead of having to use large servers or magnetic tape.
Over the last few decades the world has seen technology shirk and get more complex at the same time. We have gone from floppy disks, to compact disks, to online storage, and now possibly to strands of DNA. Can we get any smaller? DNA is already a microscopic form of storage and to create something smaller and with more potential seems not only impossible, but also unnecessary. Will it be unnecessary in, let’s say, fifty years from now? Documents, digital books, movies, video games, and any other sort of storable data is only growing in size as the graphics get better and the software becomes more complex. Is it unnecessary? Or is it preemptive of the next wave of information that people and companies will need to store?