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Stanford Bioengineers Create Rewritable Digital Data Storage In DNA

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  • by constpointertoconst (1979236) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @01:23PM (#40090543)

    Sweet. This means I no longer have to worry about losing my thumb drive - I'd just plug myself in!

    Now, where should I put the pr0n folder...

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      Reminds me of that Klingon from the exchange program smuggling data.. er... sensitive information off the Enterprise.
      • by zlives (2009072)

        what kind of DRM do i have to install...

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:59PM (#40091903) Homepage Journal

        I was thinking of the same episode. It's weird how we've surpassed almost all of the science fiction of my youth, let alone that written before I was born. [baen.com] In 1966 everything in Star Trek was pure fantasy -- doors that opened all by themselves, space shuttles, talking voice-activated computers with flat screens, communicators, McCoy's sick bay (you kids can't imagine how primitive medicine was in 1966), Uhura's bluetooth earpiece... all fantasy that nobody ever expected to actually see in their lifetimes. Yet the only things from STOS we don't have today is matter replicators and warp drives.

        I live in the science fiction future of my youth!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          We do have the MakerBot and other additive manufacturing. Granted for solids it only makes objects out of meltable materials: Plastic, metal, gelatin, wax, chocolate.

          No progress on that Warp drive though.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Yet the only things from STOS we don't have today is matter replicators and warp drives." .... and instant transport tech. , particle weapons (that actually work), stun rays, force field/shielding tech., instant skin+bone healing tech., cloaking technology.....
          Are you sure you remember this stuff ??

          • by arth1 (260657)

            "Yet the only things from STOS we don't have today is matter replicators and warp drives." .... and instant transport tech. , particle weapons (that actually work), stun rays, force field/shielding tech., instant skin+bone healing tech., cloaking technology.....

            Where are my transporter beams? Artificial gravity? Moneyless society? And blue and green ladies in spandex miniskirts...?

            • Forget all that, think about the possibilities of inherited genetic memory! Imagine being born with the knowledge of a PhD in ten different fields and being able to speak fifty languages. All we'd need is a way to access the information stored in the DNA. This may in fact become essential as the amount of time it takes to gain mastery in a field exceeds the human lifespan, as it eventually will. And each new generation could be upgraded with the achievements of the last, the technological and cultural advan

              • by arth1 (260657)

                ... but why? You'd still not land the blue and green ladies in spandex miniskirts.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Gives new meaning to the term "thumb drive"

    • Just make sure to protect it; you wouldn't want to get a virus....

    • Now, where should I put the pr0n folder...

      Most people put it into the Y folder of their 23rd chromosome pair. You know, porn being mostly (though not completely) the guy thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I RTFA'ed about 3 times. I'm a biologist. I don't get it. It's much more interesting from a biological perspective than a digital media perspective, where it is functionally useless. You're never going to see a "cell drive" in computers. And copying data (by cell division) can take hours.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SpzToid (869795)

      I also RTFA'ed a few times, and so far, all I can demise is that we're screwed. Skynet wins. But then again, I Am Not A Biologist. (IANAB).

      Hawking said this would happen, btw.

  • Placing pieces of data in DNA /must/ affect the creature. Any word on localizing or minimizing those effects?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...Johnny Mnemonic was doing that 20 years ago...

  • So, when do I start getting paid to carry people's data around in my head?
  • Finally! I can make my Artificial Intelligence algorithms into a living thing!

  • by aglider (2435074) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @01:58PM (#40091039) Homepage

    I can backup my BDs in my urine and feces!

  • 2fer on viruses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoderFool (1366191) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:08PM (#40091193)
    This digital data storage could get both technological and biological viruses! I wonder what the crossover will be like... You thought bird flu jumping to pigs then humans was bad....
    • This digital data storage could get both technological and biological viruses! I wonder what the crossover will be like... You thought bird flu jumping to pigs then humans was bad....

      Yeah I know, the Symantec stock just jumped like giddy old mare.

  • From the article

    Bonnet has now tested RAD modules in single microbes that have doubled more than 100 times and the switch has held. He has likewise switched the latch and watched a cell double 90 times, and set it back. The latch will even store information when the enzymes are not present. In short, RAD works. It is reliable and it is rewritable.

    When the microbes double, the bit is copied. Just wait until the RIAA finds out!

  • And it only takes a week to write 8 bits of data
    • by bityz (2011656)
      According to TFA, this is a single reliable bit.

      So far they can only write one bit eight times.

      • Yes... but then all they need is another microbe where they can't write that bit. String them together to get your storage. Replicate ad nauseam....

  • by TuringTest (533084) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:41PM (#40091619) Journal

    a 'bit' in data parlance. 'It took us three years and 750 tries to make it work, but we finally did it'

    There, and I thought my ISP's bandwitdh was awful.

  • Blood Music (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brannoncyll (894648) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @02:49PM (#40091731)
    This reminds me of a fantastic book called Blood Music by the science fiction author Greg Bear. In the book a geneticist working on biochip development develops a system for storing and transmitting information between single cells using DNA and RNA. He creates cells that are able to communicate and incorporate elements of RNA and as such optimise themselves to overcome environmental challenges. He soon sees the emergence of rudimentary intelligence on a cellular basis, but is shut down before he can pursue his experiments further. He smuggles his creations out of the lab by injecting them into his own body, which proves to be a perfect environment for the development of full intelligence....
    • by Anonymous Coward

      erm... sci-fi? Ever heard of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterial_conjugation as an example of horizontal transfer of genetic information? It's real and it's one of the reason we have major trouble with resistent super bacteriae like O/MRSA and VRE.

    • This article reminds me of the STNG episode "The Chase" [wikipedia.org]
  • So how long before we get a driver that can turn this data into biological functions? Say, over-riding the optical and aural sensors on demand.
    I want to be able to rickroll my grandchildren. DAILY.
  • Pissing in a cup will show traces of illegal content usage!

    Those downloading movies and music in their DNA, think twice ..

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