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A DNA-based storage system with files and metadata


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John Timmer
Jun 15
Ars

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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/researchers-build-a-metadata-based-image-database-using-dna-storage/
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Summary

In the process, the researchers have created a DNA-based image-storage system that is somewhere between a file system and a metadata-based database.Recent systems for storing data in DNA (such as one we've covered) involve adding specific sequence tags to the stretches of DNA that contain data. To get the data you want, you simply add bits of DNA that can base-pair with the right tags and use them to amplify the full sequence. In addition, the researchers created a system in which it's possible to access just the DNA data you're interested in and leave the rest of the data untouched, providing a greater longevity to the data storage.The basic technology is based on the fact that DNA will stick to silicon-dioxide glass beads. Just as importantly, no tags in the DNA were stored in the data, so there was no competition between data storage and file system information.Once the DNA was on the surface of these beads, the researchers polymerized some additional silicon dioxide on top of it. Cracking them open and getting the DNA into bacteria and then doing the sequencing needed to actually determine what is stored in the bead would likely add a couple of days to the process.But of course, nobody is suggesting that we use DNA storage because it's quick; its helpful properties, as we mentioned above, are in the areas of energy use and data stability.

As said here by John Timmer