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DNA may soon be used for storage

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Researchers have created a way to store data in the form of DNA, which can last for tens of thousands of years.

The encoding method makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of high-definition video in about a cup of DNA, the researchers said in a paper published in the journal Nature this week.

The researchers, from UK-based EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), claimed to have stored encoded versions of an .mp3 of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, along with a .jpg photo of EMBL-EBI and several text files.

"We already know that DNA is a robust way to store information because we can extract it from wooly mammoth bones, which date back tens of thousands of years, and make sense of it," Nick Goldman, co-author of the study at EMBL-EBI, said in a statement. "It's also incredibly small, dense and does not need any power for storage, so shipping and keeping it is easy."

Reading DNA is fairly straightforward, but writing it has been a major hurdle. There are two challenges: First, using current methods, it is only possible to manufacture DNA in short strings. Secondly, both writing and reading DNA are prone to errors, particularly when the same DNA letter is repeated.



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