New research says a gram of DNA can store 455,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes

Many moons back when the first Apple Macintosh computer made its debut in 1984 the measured data storage capacity of the memory of computers is in terms of kilobytes, or Kb. Over the years data storage capacities have grown tremendously but its number is still way below the number of data which deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA can store.

DNA which is dubbed as the building block of life (although the building blocks of universe are the atoms, so this will imply that the atoms are also the building blocks of life) and it is also the genetic blueprint for making all living things in the universe.

The researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have recently discovered a way of encoding data into DNA form. The form of data storage is not only dense but it is also enormous. The DNA is immune to physical and chemical harm thanks to its double stranded helical shape. Keep in mind that a gram of DNA is capable of storing immense data of up to a staggering 455 exabytes. One exabyte is equivalent to one billion gigabytes or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. We are not yet done, since one byte is equivalent to 8 bits and a bit can either be 1 or 0.

The cloud computing firm EMC has estimated that there were 1.8 zettabytes of stored data in the world in 2011. One zettabyte is equivalent to 1,000 exabytes, so this will imply that several grams of DNA is more than enough to hold the world’s stored data.

The average body of a human has enormous number of DNA. The overall data storage capacity of human’s DNA is more than enough to hold all the books that have been written and all of the audio sounds that were ever recorded.

DNA is immune from going kaput, even though it has limits. The testament of this is the DNA that has been taken out and sequenced from an alleged 700,000 years old horse bones. However, in order for the bones to endure wear and tear for an enormous amount of time, certain conditions should have been met.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Robert Grass, said that, “We know that if you just store it lying around, you lose information.” Grass and his associates are discovering new ways to enhance the longevity of DNA, with the objective of keeping data preserved for thousands or even millions of years.

DNA is composed of A, T, C, and G nitrogenous bases, which are linked to sugar and bonded together by phosphate molecules. The researchers have assigned “0” to A and C and “1” to T and G. The team of scientists employed the Reed-Solomon error-correction to prevail over any errors that will surface out while sequencing.


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