July 20, 2024
The Entirety of YouTube Could Fit on a Teaspoon
DNA data storage is about to get wild
DNA data storage is about to get wild

If ever there were sprawling website, it would be YouTube. The video-sharing site that was launched in 2005 has become one of the dominant forces of the Internet, both for good and for, well, less than good. But there’s something both its critics and advocates would agree on: It’s big. Really, really big.

That’s why it’s so shocking that researchers have shown the theoretical possibility that they could store 10 petabytes (10 million gigabytes) of data in a single gram of DNA. Potentially, all of YouTube could fit on a teaspoon.

The study, from researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, also in Israel, is meant to examine the possibility of DNA as data storage. With use of the cloud now commonplace, data storage has become increasingly crucial. Server farms, the traditional solution, have raised environmental concerns, given their large demands on electricity. Some companies, like Microsoft, have experimented with putting their servers underwater to deal with the challenge.

DNA already holds the intensely complex code for human life, which makes it potentially amazing for data storage. But it’s tough. Encoding information DNA requires a chain made up of links called nucleotides. These nucleotides are the four building blocks of life, marked with letters A, C, G, and T. Binary sequences consisting of 0s and 1s are then translated into these four letters.