Scientists Stored These Images in DNA—Then Flawlessly Retrieved Them

DNA data storage could help us file away the vast amounts of information we continue to generate


To do it, researchers from the University of Washington first have to convert ones and zeroes that make up a digital file using the four basic building blocks of DNA— adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine. Once the team’s determined how to represent a file, they then synthesize artificial DNA based on their calculations.

Reading the data is made easier by distinctive markers that the team place within the strands of DNA. The team can sequences the sample, then use these markers to finds the starting point of a file. Then they simply read back the combination of adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, use the Huffman coding to convert it back into digital data and—voila!—the files is restored.

Gizmodo / University of Washington (PDF)