Artificial DNA Stores 1 Million Copies of a Movie, inspecting a vial contains few water droplets

  

A Technicolor scientist surrounded by the latest virtual reality technology inspects a vial containing a few droplets of water — and one million copies of an old movie encoded into DNA.

The company has come a long way since the Hollywood golden age, when the world gazed in awe at the lush palette of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind” provided by its three-strip cameras.

DNA Data Storage: Your Genetic Material Is A Hard Drive

Your Face Is Made Of Junk DNA!

DNA is almost unimaginably small — up to 90,000 molecules can fit into the width of one human hair — so even such a large library is totally invisible to the human eye. All you can see is the water in the tube.

“This, we believe, is what the future of movie archiving will look like,” Bolot said.

Scientists have been experimenting with DNA as a potential storage medium for years but recent advances in modern lab equipment have made projects like Technicolor’s a reality.

The company’s work builds on research by scientists at Harvard University, who in 2012 successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a factor of one thousand.

DNA is a long, coiled molecular “ladder” — the famous double helix structure — comprising four chemical rungs, adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, which team up in pairs.

DNA Data Storage Lasts Thousands Of Years

Bolot’s team digitized the “A Trip to the Moon” into data in the form of zeros and 1s in computing’s binary code, and transcribed it into DNA code, which was then turned into molecules, using lab-dish chemicals.

The contents are “read” by sequencing the DNA — as is routinely done today in genetic fingerprinting — and turning it back into computer code.

Converting movies into man-made DNA brings huge advantages, said Bolot, who points out that the archives of every Hollywood studio, currently taking up square kilometers of floor space, could fit into a Lego brick.

Another problem overcome by DNA storage is that the format for reading it doesn’t become obsolete every decade or so, unlike celluloid, VHS, DVD and every other medium in the history of filmmaking.

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