Saturday, 18 August 2012

What book are you reading?

So we know that the demand for storing any large piece of data onto something really small is getting really competitive, and so is the need for encrypting files. So just to prove a point, a book has been encoded into DNA.

The scientists have encoded 11 pictures, 53,000 words and a computer program, which makes this the largest thing ever stored in DNA (bar anything natural like you!). Apparently the cost of DNA coding is falling so rapidly that in a few decades or even years it could be the cheapest way to store large amounts of data.

Normal data is stored in binary coding so made of zeros and ones, but by using DNA they use G,T,C and A. However to help minimise "translating" it wrong, they stuck to binary coding using A and C as zero and T and G as one.

Though this sounds really exciting, especially as the knowledge of DNA hasn't been around for that long but it's also rather bizarre. How are we (non scientists) meant to be able to read this DNA? Unless we had a translator.

So dear Explorers please cling to the words which you see on the screen, for soon they may only be made up of 4 letters.

Explorer Fact: 1g off DNA can hold 455 billion gigabytes, which is a ridiculous amount of information.

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