Microsoft is making Big Data really small using DNA

A gram of DNA could store close to a trillion gigabytes of data

Microsoft has partnered with a San Francisco-based company to encode information on synthetic DNA to test its potential as a new medium for data storage.

Twist Bioscience will provide Microsoft with 10 million DNA strands for the purpose of encoding digital data. In other words, Microsoft is trying to figure out how the same molecules that make up humans' genetic code can be used to encode digital information.

While a commercial product is still years away, initial tests have shown that it's possible to encode and recover 100 per cent of digital data from synthetic DNA, said Doug Carmean, a Microsoft partner architect, in a statement.

Using DNA could allow massive amounts of data to be stored in a tiny physical footprint. Twist claims a gram of DNA could store almost a trillion gigabytes of data.

Finding new ways to store information is increasingly important as people generate more and more data in their daily lives, and as millions of connected IoT sensors start to come online.

It's also important for Microsoft, which operates one of the biggest public cloud platforms. Finding more efficient ways to store data could reduce its costs, and DNA-based storage has the potential to last longer than existing media.

“Today, the vast majority of digital data is stored on media that has a finite shelf life and periodically needs to be re-encoded. DNA is a promising storage media, as it has a known shelf life of several thousand years, offers a permanent storage format and can be read for continuously decreasing costs,” said Twist CEO Emily Leproust in a statement.

It remains to be seen what the results of the collaboration will be, but it's a further step towards making DNA-based computers a practical reality.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags informationdataMicrosoftstoragebig dataData storageDNAdigital datastorage mediaTwist Bioscience

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?