Microsoft will store information in DNA


If we store information in DNA, as we do in magnetic tapes, we would be able to store all the information known to mankind forever, in facilities with roughly the size of a double garage.

Microsoft said earlier this week, that is planning to start to store its computer information in DNA sometime in the next 3 years and plans to have an operating storage system based on this technology over the next decade.

Although it may seem to be old-fashioned, the old tape is still the most efficient and economical way to store information since it can store about a terabyte per unit and has a retaining capability of about 30 years.

But when we look at the fact that in the past two years more information has been generated than in the whole history of mankind, we have to come to the conclusion that magnetic tapes may have their days counted, and although DNA seems like a strange choice for storing digital information, as we know for more than 70 years, it has the capacity to store giant information capacities in a tiny space.

In 1940, physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed the existence of an inherited coding stored in a non-repetitive structure, and this suggestion inspired James Watson and Francis Crick to determine the elliptical structure of DNA based on the research of Rosalind Franklin, revolutionizing our knowledge about the mechanics of life.

Although DNA has been used to store information by our bodies for billions of years, the computer approach to this practice has only been achieved about five years ago when a geneticist at Harvard University decided to store all of his book, image information Included on it.

Since then, technology has progressed to the point where scientists were able to store 215 petabyes (215 million gigabytes) in a mere gram of DNA, but despite being extremely compact, the process is neither cheap nor fast.

Last year Microsoft stored about 200 megabytes of information in a single process, which have costed about $ 800 000, which means that the process needs to be colossally cheaper to become a competitive option, not just this, the process was also extremely slow, having reached speeds of only 400 bytes per second, when for it to be profitable, it needs to at least reach 100 megabytes per second.

Although we have not yet reached the desired point in the process of storing information in this type of media, we know that in the near future we will be able to do it with a more balanced cost-benefit ratio, and then solve the growing problem of information storage versus the grow of it.