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Biostorage Scheme Turns E. Coli Bacteria into Hard Drives

A group of students at Hong Kong's Chinese University are making strides towards storing such vast amounts of information in an unexpected home: the E. coli bacterium better known as a potential source of serious food poisoning.

"This means you will be able to keep large datasets for the long term in a box of bacteria in the refrigerator," said Aldrin Yim, a student instructor on the university's biostorage project, a 2010 gold medallist in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prestigious iGEM competition.

Biostorage -- the art of storing and encrypting information in living organisms -- is a young field, having existed for about a decade.

In 2007, a team at Japan's Keio University said they had successfully encoded the equation that represents Einstein's theory of relativity, E=MC², in the DNA of a common soil bacterium.

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