A Jewelry Box sized DNA storage devices can store a 'huge amount of data'

Humanity got amazed two decades earlier as able to recognize the fact that more information was created and stored on the large web of the Internet if compared to the written history of many years earlier. As time passed the information storage concept became complex day by day. Thus it is the modern world’s need to find out new ways and methods for storing data and information. It has been figured out that DNA that made us might play a huge role in the ultimate organic hard drives.

A team consisting of scientists has discovered a new way of storing information. Thus, the pegs and pegboard that are composed of DNA can be used for storing purposes and can be retrieved through a telescope in a molecular variant of the traditional Lite-Brite, as per the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

How can DNA store huge data?

The fluorescent patterns of DNA are the main factors because of which DNA has the capacity of storing a huge amount of data. The prototypes have a 10-nanometer gap between them through which they can store information in DNA strands. The gap can be imagined as it is less than one-thousandth of the diameter of human hair and nearly one-hundredth of the size of a living bacterium. Scientists tested and observed digital nucleic acid memory (i.e dNAM) with the storage.

A statement given by the team that can help in understanding this whole perspective is “Data is in our DNA/n”. Many attempts were made in the past to extract the data stored in DNA as this process is called DNA sequencing. This method involves reading the genetic code of DNA strands, which is one of the critical tools in the biology and medicinal field but not very much efficient for DNA memory.

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The dNAM method employs light-emitting DNA, like an organic Lite-Brite. Credit: Nucleic Acid Memory Institute / Boise State University

DNA pegs were placed at less than half of the wavelength held by visible light from one another which helps scientists to use super-resolution microscopy( often called the diffraction limit of light). This helps them to observe, study, read and retrieve the encoded data without doing labor-intensive DNA sequencing. The DNA pegs that consist of DNA strands start to glow when DNA with fluorescent labels is attached to them.

As the fluorescent strands of DNA are short. They bind and unbind themselves (DNA strands) rapidly. This creates a “blinking” effect which helps distinguish one peg from another. It reduces the difficulty of reading encoded data. The scientists used every pegboard’s fluorescent patterns for coding purposes and storing huge amounts of data.

How Data in DNA strands can remain for up to 500 years?

The team of Scientists imaged nearly thousands of DNA pegs in one recording. It enables an error-correction algorithm to extract all data. Firstly, all of the bits were organized through algorithms and then the prototype DNA decoder can read data at 330 gigabits per square centimeters. Perhaps this technique in upcoming years will not be available in smartphones and laptops but DNA storage has much potential for archival use.

DNA gets evolved in time to store large amounts of data. Our gene can store emails, tweets, songs, photos, films, and books that ever existed in DNA volume the size of a specific jewelry box. Data lasts for centuries as the half-life of biomolecules is more than 500 years.

In 2020 scientists discovered a scalable DNA storage system called DORIS. This method uses a single strand of DNA. This method tries to figure out relevant primer-binding sequences of DNA but without disruption in double-stranded DNA. Albert Keung, in a SciTechDaily report, says,

“We discovered a new system called DORIS thus Dynamic Operations and Reusable Information Storage. It would help us to address some of the major obstacles facing the practical implementation of DNA storage technologies”.

Conclusion

DNA storage has much more and clear advantages over other technology like quantum computing. It is not so because of how it works. The advantage is that DNA storage devices or systems can store every single thing that our culture cares about, and another fact is that it can last up to centuries. DNA storage technique is still in its early stage even though it can store huge amounts of information in DNA.

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