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The Future of Data Storage Lies in DNA Microcapsules

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Microcapsules with fluorescent labels.

A DNA file can be stored much more compactly, and the lifespan of the data is also many times longer. But perhaps most importantly, this new technology renders large, energy-guzzling datacenters obsolete.

Credit: Tom de Greef

An international team of researchers has added scalability to synthetic DNA data storage via a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique.

Tom de Greef at the Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology led the team's development of protein-polymer microcapsules that self-seal above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), enabling PCR to occur separately in each capsule.

This "thermo-confined PCR" method reads 25 DNA data files simultaneously without major errors.

Reducing the temperature again causes the copies to detach from the capsule while keeping the anchored original file, preserving the original's quality.

Assigning a fluorescent label to each file and a unique color to each capsule also eases data-library searches, which could enable a future system in which a robotic arm selects and reads specific files from a pool of capsules.

From Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands)
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