Shakespeare, Thou Art Stored in DNA

Shakespeare, Thou Art Stored in DNA

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The stuff we’re made of may be the means by which we store information that we want kept around long after we’re gone. Scientists have developed a technique of storing information in DNA, the molecule found in living creatures including humans that contains genetic instructions. The experiment is discussed in a new study in the journal Nature. Researchers aren’t using DNA from any living organism, or one that was once alive; instead, they are synthesizing it. As long as the DNA is kept cold, dry and dark, it will last for a long time.

“There must be some point in time when it’s cheaper to store information for that length of time as DNA than as something that requires electricity or some other maintenance cost to keep it around,” said geneticist Ewan Birney, senior author of the study. Birney and colleagues did the math, and found that although DNA storage is expensive, it’s more cost-effective than other methods if you want to preserve a digital file for somewhere between 600 and 5,000 years.

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