The computing of biology or the biology of computing?
So there is a new story out that is fascinating to me as a ‘recovering’ biologist.
It appears that sequencing has become so cheap and deadly accurate that we have a new storage mechanism for our data. DNA. Yes you read that correctly. Those living organisms and viruses can’t have all the fun.
A company in San Francisco can synthesize DNA and this can be shipped and read back by using traditional sequencing by a different company. Ok some of the basic tricks of data storage and a decoder had to be built in, but the amount of information that was stored per unit area was much higher than conventional devices.
The cost of $3,500/Mbyte is also a bit higher than the $300 physical drives, but the data in the test was 100% accurate, or at much better fidelity than traditional computational systems. Chew on that IBM!
By the way, apparently the data that was coded was: a movie, a full computer operating system, and several scientific articles. When the information was retrieved, the OS installed researchers celebrated by playing minesweeper, which may be the first game to be encoded in DNA.
The other cool thing about this is while this is very new technology and very expensive, now we can imagine all over again the world of the Diamond Age by Stephenson, where espionage involves the cells in our bodies and the data can be destroyed by activating an enzyme.
The link to this story: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6328/950.full