A team of undergraduates and instructors from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has found a way to store a whole lot of data onto living bacteria cells through a process they call “massively parallel bacterial data storage.” And in addition to storing huge amounts of data, they can also encrypt/decrypt it.
Data encryption and storage has always been an important branch of research in computer engineering. In our project, we explored the possibility of harnessing a biological system as an alternative solution for data en/decryption and storage. Using bacteria as the information storage device is not new. However the practicability of previous research is being doubt due to the limited size of information available to be inserted into the bacteria.
Their results are simply outstanding as they have managed to fit the equivalent of 450 2TB hard disks (900TB) on a single gram of E.coli bacteria. To give you some perspective and help you understand the scale of this, traditional media has a data density of 1 to 4GB per gram. HOLY SH*T, am I right?
The efforts of the team are part of the CUHK submission for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM), which is “the premiere undergraduate Synthetic Biology competition.”
Hope to see their project in (commercial) action one day.
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