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Shakespeare sonnets encoded in DNA

London, Jan. 24 (PTI): A genetic storage device has been used to “download” all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets on to strands of synthetic DNA, in a breakthrough which could solve the problem of storing the ever-growing mountain of data.

Scientists were able to decode the information and reproduce the words of the Bard with complete accuracy.

The new method by researchers at the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), published in the journal Nature, makes it possible to store at least 100 million hours of high-definition video in about a cup of DNA.

The technique made it possible to store a 26 second excerpt from Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech and a photo of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory where the work took place.

Researchers were also able to turn a copy of Watson and Crick’s paper describing the nature of DNA into genetic code.

There is a lot of digital information in the world — about three zettabytes’ worth (that is 3000 billion billion bytes) — and the constant influx of new digital content poses a real challenge for archivists. Hard disks are expensive and require a constant supply of electricity, while even the best “no-power” archiving materials such as magnetic tape degrade within a decade.

 
 
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