DNA data storage

Reinhard Heckel1 and Kannan Ramchandran

Swiss National Science Foundation P2EZP2_159065

Due to its longevity and enormous information density, DNA is considered a potentially attractive storage medium. If synthesizing and sequencing technologies continue to improve as rapidly as in past years, then reasonable amounts of data can be stored at low cost on DNA in coming decades. Due to practical constraints on synthesizing and sequencing DNA, large amounts of data cannot be stored on a single (long) strand of DNA, as is the genetic code in a living cell. Thus, the data must be stored on several (short) DNA fragments. Writing and reading on DNA is in that sense different to state-of-the-art storage technologies such as discs, since the data is not written sequentially. In this project, we develop coding schemes tailored to DNA. We implemented a first scheme, tested in on real DNA, and showed, using accelerated aging experiments, that, indeed, digital information stored on DNA can be retrieved error free even after centuries have passed.

Figure 1
Figure 1: The vision