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Boston startup company will provide data storage on DNA pellets

The prospect of using DNA as a means of data storage is becoming more and more realistic all the time. A startup company at the Harvard Life Lab has recently announced its plans to offer such a storage service beginning next year.

A group known as Catalog has developed a method of storing an entire terabyte of data on a single DNA pellet.

“We are developing next generation technology to store digital information in DNA molecules,” said the startup agency on its website. “Our vision is to fit the information content of entire data centers into the palm of your hand.”

“We have proven our approach to encoding data in DNA and are in the process of scaling up our platform. The Catalog technology will make it economically attractive to use DNA as the major medium for long-term archival of data.”

According to an article published by the New Scientist, DNA is one of the most dense and durable methods of media storage. The news agency reported that the process of storing data on DNA is very similar to storing information on a hard drive.

If DNA is stored properly, it can endure for hundreds of years, which is far longer than the life of a hard drive. An analysis of the failure rate of 25,000 hard drives by the online data backup company BackBlaze found that 90 percent of hard drives last for only three years.

While the process of storing data on DNA was once considered impractical due to obstacles such as cost and speed, Catalog said that it has developed a machine that can drastically cut the costs of DNA storage. Beginning next year, the company will offer a terabyte of DNA-encoded data in a gram-sized pellet.

On June 26, the Boston startup announced it has already used the storage system to save a copy of the novel A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost in genetic material.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Image Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

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