November 26, 2015

Digital Preservation: “DNA ‘Perfect for Digital Storage'”

From the BBC:

The UK team encoded a scholarly paper, a photo, Shakespeare’s sonnets and a portion of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech in artificially produced segments of the “life molecule”.

The information was then read back out with 100% accuracy.

It is possible to store huge volumes of data in DNA for thousands of years, the researchers write in Nature magazine.


The group cites government and historical records as examples of data that could benefit from the molecular storage option.

Much of this information is not required every day but still needs to be kept. Once encoded in DNA, it could be put away safely in a vault until it was needed.

DNA representation The coding used the same four “letters”, or bases, but in a language living cells would not understand

And unlike other storage media presently in use such as hard disk-drives and magnetic tapes, the DNA “library” would not demand constant maintenance.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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