A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard's Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data - around 700 terabytes
- in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times. The work, carried out by George Church and Sri Kosuri, basically treats DNA as just another digital storage device. Instead of binary data being encoded as magnetic regions on a hard drive platter, strands of DNA that store 96 bits are synthesized, with each of the bases (TGAC) representing a binary value (T and G = 1, A and C = 0).
Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That's 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs... in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives - the densest storage medium in use today - you'd need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. In Church and Kosuri's case, they have successfully stored around 700 kilobytes of data in DNA - Church's latest book, in fact - and proceeded to make 70 billion copies (which they claim, jokingly, makes it the best-selling book of all time!) totaling 44 petabytes of data stored.