Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • If you think about it, DNA is basically nature's hard drive.

  • You are the result of a three-dimensional computer program, written in tiny compounds

  • wound up inside the nucleus of all your cells.

  • It's a set of instructions, coded and saved that our bodies write and read to build proteins,

  • construct cells, and perform thousands of other tasks.

  • Genetic engineering is basically us trying to hack our own hard drives, and we're learning

  • more about the possibilities of accomplishing this every day.

  • But, way back in 1964, a Soviet Physicist named Mikhail Neiman concocted the idea that

  • we could use the compact, efficient, storage system of DNA to store not nature's code

  • but whatever we wanted!

  • So far, we've been able to decypher parts of nature's DNA programming… a gene here,

  • a few lines of the code there.

  • We haven't decoded all of this yet, but scientists do understand how the storage system

  • works now.

  • Meaning, we're real close to putting whatever pictures or files we want into DNA-storage.

  • I know that sounds crazy, and it is.

  • But it's possible.

  • In 2013 scientists proved they could write computer data into synthetic DNA with 0 errors!

  • There's a lot there, so let's unpack that.

  • First: They had to teach the computer to speak DNA

  • Machine language is binary, zeros and ones, while DNA is A, T, G, and C. I emailed with

  • Bill Peck, CTO of Twist Bioscience (they make synthetic DNA).

  • And he explained how they convert from binary to DNA code.

  • Basically, like anything in tech these days, they use an algorithm.

  • The nice thing is, even though DNA only pairs A with T and G with C -- these letters can

  • also be reversed, AT and TA are different -- this means the data is more dense; there's

  • more data in less space!

  • The algorithm does all that translation for them.

  • Then they had to create a piece of DNA that reflected the computer data.

  • It's the same DNA that you'd find in your cells, but they made it in a lab.

  • Peck described it assimilar to stacking four colors of Lego bricks into segments.”

  • Yes, it really is that simple.

  • To get the data back out of the DNA, scientists would sequence it just like they would with

  • any other piece of DNA that showed up in a lab.

  • And the whole reason they want to do this in the first place is they can put a LOT of

  • data into a tiny space.

  • With a bit of chemistry and a bit of computer engineering, this synthetic DNA can store

  • data for say -- a trip to Mars, or for long-term storage of any kind!

  • Stretched out, the DNA molecule can be three meters long, but wound up, it's tiny.

  • This alone makes it an ideal long-term storage system.

  • But on top of that, hard drives, CDs, flash drives or tape backups (commonly used by major

  • data centers) all need special climate-controlled facilities, with constant maintenance.

  • Meanwhile, DNA can survive with minimal effort under a rock for millennia.

  • A paper in Science showed a single gram of DNA can store 215 petabytes of data.

  • The equivalent to all the space in 420,000 of the most expensive MacBooks on the market.

  • But Peck believes the upper limit is higher.

  • One.

  • Zettabyte.

  • That is a LOT of data.

  • It's 1.1 trillion gigabytes.

  • All the internet traffic in the whole world in 2016 added up to 1.1 zettabytes.

  • If you filled the iPhone 7 with that data, you'd need 8.6 billion iPhones.

  • Stacked together like dominos, they would go around the planet 1.5 times.

  • This could theoretically fit in ONE GRAM of DNA.

  • The problem is, DNA storage is just too expensive, and takes too long right now.

  • But while in 2013 they could encode a few hundred kilobytes, now in 2017 we're talking

  • zettabytes.

  • Someday, the molecules that make up all life as we know it, could be storing backups of

  • the cat videos and tweets and snaps that you definitely didn't save.

  • Or storing all vital human knowledge in case ofwell, pick your favorite apocalypse.

  • Special thanks to Twist Bioscience for their help on this episode.

  • And additional thanks to our sponsor, Domain dot com.

  • When you buy a domain name from Domain Dot Com, you're taking the first steps in creating

  • an identity and vision for your brand.

  • No domain extension will help tell your story like a DOT COM or DOT NET domain name.

  • Get 15% off Domain Dot Com's already affordable domain names and web hosting when you use

  • coupon code SEEKER at checkout.

  • It's been a few days since we started our new look, what do you guys think?

  • If you don't know why we did it, watch this video.

  • Let us know down in the comments and if you have a science question, drop that down there

  • as well.

  • Thanks for watching, please take a second and subscribe and come fine me on Twitter

  • @tracedominguez .

If you think about it, DNA is basically nature's hard drive.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 US dna domain data storage peck computer

We Could Back Up The Entire Internet On A Gram Of DNA

  • 1 1
    joey joey posted on 2021/04/14
Video vocabulary