Double-take: Microsoft to Purchase Ten Million Long Oligonucleotides for Storage

Double-take: Microsoft to Purchase Ten Million Long Oligonucleotides for Storage

What the -- ??  Strange times, for sure.

Twist Bioscience, a San Francisco company that creates man-made DNA strands, has announced a deal to sell ten million long oligonucleotides to Microsoft. Microsoft sees huge value in using DNA molecules to store large amounts of data for much longer periods than today’s storage media affords. According to Twist Bioscience, one cubic millimeter of DNA can store one Exabyte, or one billion gigabytes of data safely and securely for up to 10,000 years. Today’s hard drives have a life span of 3-5 years and tape around 30 years and both will eventually reach physical capacity.

As part of the official deal announcement, Doug Carmean, a partner architect in Microsoft’s Research organization says…

As our digital data continues to expand exponentially, we need new methods for long-term, secure data storage. The initial test phase with Twist demonstrated that we could encode and recover 100 percent of the digital data from synthetic DNA. We’re still years away from a commercially- viable product, but our early tests with Twist demonstrate that in the future we’ll be able to substantially increase the density and durability of data storage.

What did the deal cost? What does a single oligonucleotide go for these days? The amount has not been reported.

Whether or not you’re a mad scientist, this should be extremely interesting stuff for anyone.

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