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DNA data storage breaks records

A trio of researchers has encoded a draft of a whole book into DNA. The 5.27-megabit tome contains 53,246 words, 11 JPG image files and a JavaScript program, making it the largest piece of non-biological data ever stored in this way.

DNA has the potential to store huge amounts of information. In theory, two bits of data can be incorporated per nucleotide — the single base unit of a DNA string — so each gram of the double-stranded molecule could store 455 exabytes of data (1 exabyte is 1018 bytes). Such dense packing outstrips inorganic data-storage devices such as flash memory, hard disks or even storage based on quantum-computing methods.

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