“Scientists have stored audio and text on fragments of DNA and then retrieved them with near-perfect fidelity — a technique that eventually may provide a way to handle the overwhelming data of the digital age,” Gautam Naik reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“The scientists encoded in DNA—the recipe of life—an audio clip of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, a photograph, a copy of Francis Crick and James Watson’s famous ‘double helix’ scientific paper on DNA from 1953 and Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets,” Naik reports. “They later were able to retrieve them with 99.99% accuracy.”

“The experiment was reported Wednesday in the journal Nature,” Naik reports. “‘All we’re doing is adapting what nature has hit upon—a very good way of storing information,’ said Nick Goldman, a computational biologist at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, England, and lead author of the Nature paper… DNA — the molecule that contains the genetic instructions for all living things — is stable, durable and dense. Because DNA isn’t alive, it could sit passively in a storage device for thousands of years… DNA could hold vastly more information than the same surface volume of a disk drive—a cup of DNA theoretically could store about 100 million hours of high-definition video.”

Naik reports, “Plenty of challenges remain before DNA storage could become a cheap and reliable commercial process. ‘In 10 years, it’s probably going to be about 100 times cheaper,’ said Dr. Goldman. ‘At that time, it probably becomes economically viable.'”

Read more in the full article here.