Scientists: Data-storing bacteria could last thousands of years

Scientists successfully store "e=mc2 1905" on DNA of living matter

A Japanese university announced scientists there have developed a new technology that uses bacteria DNA as a medium for storing data long-term, even for thousands of years.

Keio University Institute for Advanced Biosciences and Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus announced the development of the new technology, which creates an artificial DNA that carries up to more than 100 bits of data within the genome sequence, according to the JCN Newswire.

The universities said they successfully encoded "e= mc2 1905!" -- Einstein's theory of relativity and the year he enunciated it -- on the common soil bacteria, Bacillius subtilis.

While the technology would most likely first be used to track medication, it could also be used to store text and images for many millennia, thwarting the longevity issues associated with today's disk and tape storage systems -- which only store data for up to 100 years in most cases.

The artificial DNA that carries the data to be preserved makes multiple copies of the DNA and inserts the original as well as identical copies into the bacterial genome sequence. The multiple copies work as backup files to counteract natural degradation of the preserved data, according to the newswire. 

Bacteria have particularly compact DNA, which is passed down from generation to generation. The information stored in that DNA can also be passed on for long-term preservation of large data files, the scientists said.

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