The recording of data can be traced back to ancient times, when people used different symbols to write and store data on leaves, bones and paper. Subsequently, people began to use floppy disks and gramophone tapes. With the rapid development of science and technology, optical devices including CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and flash drives have become widely used. However, the functions of all these devices will be lost over time, and the data stored in them is easily affected by environmental factors. In addition, these devices are not biodegradable which will further stress our environment and cause pollution when burned. Storage requirements are growing at a rate of 50% every year, and there is an urgent need to switch to a more active and reliable method to store more digital data. At the beginning, memory cards and chips were chosen; but they can only last for 5 years. Hard drives can store up to 100 GB of data, but they are susceptible to damage from high temperature, humidity and mechanical failure. Based on this, the superiority of DNA as a storage medium is reflected which has high density and long-term storage stability. DNA can store an astonishing amount of data and can be stored for hundreds of years.
Compared with traditional storage methods, DNA has so many advantages for information storage. In the figure below, we can clearly see that the three most important steps in the DNA storage process, including DNA encoding, DNA synthesis, and DNA decoding.
Fig.1 htDNA-chip® in the process of DNA storage
The two main applications of our silicon-based htDNA-chip® platform in DNA information storage are high-throughput DNA synthesis and high-throughput next-generation sequencing.
First of all, the first step in storing information is the encoding of DNA. Any data file can be converted into a binary code with "0" and "1", and the four bases "A", "T", "C", and "G" in DNA can exactly correspond to the binary code. When converting file information into the corresponding four-base sequences, the first step of DNA for information storage is completed. htDNA-chip® can synthesize DNA strands up to 300 nt. The flexibility and high throughput htDNA-chip® can provide space for your base sequences design.
The second step is to synthesize the designed base sequence into the corresponding DNA strands. htDNA-chip® technology platform can provide you with thousands of nucleotide chains with high precision of specific sequences in a single run. For a long time, the low throughput of DNA synthesis is the biggest obstacle to the application of DNA in data storage. Time-consuming and high cost make the advantages of DNA compared to traditional storage methods useless. htDNA-chip® can easily solve this problem.
The last step is the reading process of data called DNA decoding. In short, it is equivalent to the sequencing process of the base sequence of DNA. Our htDNA-chip® technology platform provides you with high-throughput next-generation sequencing to help you efficiently sequence base sequences for translation into binary numbers. htDNA-chip® makes sure that the sequencing process is quick and accurate, which can greatly save time for data readout. The next-generation sequencing greatly speeds up the reading of information from DNA.
Last but not least, after the data is encoded into DNA, it is no exaggeration to say that it can be stored for hundreds or even thousands of years under specific conditions.
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