When it comes to storing data, compact discs, flash drives and even hard disks are no good. The reason for this is pretty simple. The data on these gadgets can be corrupted by heat, light, water and other environmental factors. Even servers come with their own set of limitations. So if you are planning to preserve your data for a long time (like a really long time), the available technology may be out of its depth.
However, scientists have developed a unique way of storing tonnes of data in a small space such that it would never be lost. Their trick is to use DNA, a material found in our blood that stores genetic information and is responsible for our growth and development. In fact, one gram of DNA can store nearly 455 exabytes (47,71,02,080 TB approx) of data, which is roughly the size of the total information available on the Internet. No, we are not kidding!
Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), have developed a novel technique wherein they store information on DNA just like digital data is stored on flash drives and other storage devices (in the form of 0s and 1s).
However, storing data on DNA is not as simple as it seems. Apart from the issues with the coding, data on the DNA can be corrupted by the environmental factors. To solve this problem, the Swiss scientists experimented with many techniques.
They figured out that by storing DNA at extremely low temperatures like that at The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic region at minus 18 degrees Celsius, the encoded DNA can be stored for over a million years. Of course, encoding DNA is a pricey affair and not everything can be encoded, however, the fact that we now have a fail safe method of storing the gigantic amount of information presents a ray of hope for the future generations.