Synthetic DNA as Information Storage Medium

Synthetic DNA as Information Storage Medium

Postby Dave Z » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:12 am

Synthetic DNA as Durable, Dense Information Storage Medium with Signal (Content) Integrity

Recent break-through technologies enabling DNA molecules (synthetic, not genomic, and therefore not susceptible to mutation) as dense data storage is moving by leaps toward practical application.

DNA molecules are both stable and durable, when protected from such deteriorating forces as radiation. Written and read base by base, their content may be regulated by protocols similar to those cleaning up a signal coming over a 'noisy' line, reducing errors to near zero.

Information density is far in advance of chip-based technologies. It is claimed that all the knowledge of humankind, encoded in base pairs, would only fill the backseat of a medium sized automobile.

In this interview (middle segment, a few minutes into this podcast), three of the pioneers in the field explain their recent successes.

http://www.sciencefriday.com/episodes/march-3-2017/

Their recent paper on the subject may be found here:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6328/950.full

And a brief report on 'syntetic fossils' for long-term DNA storage can be found here:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dna-solution-permanent-data-storage-180954315/

While the method may be well out of reach of a rebooting civilization, much information (archeological and historical findings, results of scientific explorations, mineral resource locations and methods, etc.) would be of value to a largely recovered civilization.

More intriguing, to me, are the encoding/decoding protocols mentioned. It is claimed that hints as to protocol rules are relatively simple to pass on, and with them in hand, error free reconstruction is straightforward. The analogy was to a game of Sudoku, in which missing information can be reconstructed according to the rules of the game.

This aspect has potential value in cases where a little information leads to a large repository.

Dave Z
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