Pot Luck
High Scientist: Storing Data in DNA, Source: http://www.biologycorner.com/resources/DNA-colored.gif

The letters A, C, G, and T are converted into binary code.

I’ve mentioned my interest in all things science. Most of the cool shit in this world came around because of discoveries in science and technology, and I always like to hear about cool scientific stuff. In my previous High Scientist post, I went back to the Mesozoic Era, but this time I’m looking forward.

A while ago I happened to get a free 39-week subscription to the Wall Street Journal via hunt4freebies.com, the same place where I was able to score the science DVDs that inspired the “High Scientist” series in the first place. (Check here to see if you can still score your own 39-week subscription.)

In a recent issue of the WSJ, I came across an article by Gautam Naik titled, “Storing Digital Data in DNA.” Like the title suggests, scientists have discovered a way to store audio and text on DNA and retrieve them with surprising accuracy.

The scientists encoded into DNA an audio clip of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, a photo, Shakespeare’s 153 sonnets, and some other stuff. When I read this I was like “whaaat!?!”

I don’t know much about how information is stored, and it seemed totally outlandish that we could store information in DNA, the recipe for life itself. The article quoted Nick Goldman, a computational biologist, who said, “All we’re doing is adapting what nature has hit upon-a very good way of storing information.”

The scientists were able to retrieve the information at 99.99% accuracy. In time, this process will only become more accurate and cheaper, and who knows what this means for the future of information technology and the vast amounts of data becoming available in this digital age. DNA is microscopic and could hold much, much greater amounts of information than standard disks and hard drives. It is also stable, durable, dense, and cannot die, according to the article.

This is bad ass. I never even thought of the possibility of storing info in DNA. Who knows what crazy shit they’ll discover next? Check here for a similar article from the WSJ.

Check out other posts from Weedist’s High Scientist series!


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