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January 24 2013

Half a Million DVDs of Data Stored in Gram of DNA


Paleontologists routinely resurrect and sequence DNA from woolly mammoths and other long extinct species. Future paleontologists, or librarians, may do much the same to pull up Shakespeare’s sonnets, listen to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, or view photos. Researchers in the United Kingdom report today that they’ve encoded these works and others in DNA and later sequenced the genetic material to reconstruct the written, audio, and visual information.

The new work isn’t the first example of large-scale storage of digital information in DNA.

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