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E. Coli, a Terabyte Hard Drive of the Future?

Written on January 11, 2011 by Adam Eve

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E. coli gets a bad rap – probably due to the violent illness it induces – but a group of Chinese University students in Hong Kong have found a novel and potentially reputation-changing use for the bacteria: data storage.

Although has a negative reputation due to the violent illness it can induce, the students of Chinese University in Hong Kong found a good use for the bacteria: . The team was able to devise a way to encrypt and store data inside the E. coli’s DNA. According to the students, one gram of the bacteria can store the same amount of data as 450 two-terabyte . The idea of has been around for about a decade. But earlier attempts of encoding data into DNA have been incremental and was unable to push forward.

Theoretically, bacterial bio-storage should hold a hefty amount of data in very small spaces. More over, the capabilities of bacteria to replicate could mean a millennia of reliable data storage. Still, it does not end there. The students at are looking for ways to encode extra information into genetically modified organisms like crops to create “bio bar code”.

Imagine your CPU with E. coli for a hard drive. How would it looks like? Share your opinions by leaving a comment.

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