Storing Audio on DNA Opens Possibilities


Two Twist Bioscience Researchers worked with Microsoft and University of Washington and discovered a way to save music on DNA. They were able to encode two songs onto DNA which were Miles Davis’ ‘Tutu’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water.’ While these weren’t EDM songs this opens a huge possibility on how we may be storing our data in the future.

According to Karin Strauss, a senior researcher at Microsoft, said the amount of DNA to store these audio files is “much smaller than one grain of sand.” The songs were part of the Montreux Jazz Festival archive, a six petabyte sized file which could be stored on DNA smaller than a grain of rice.

This isn’t the first time UW and Microsoft researchers have experimented with storing information on DNA. This has been an ongoing experiment as the need for more space for data storage arises. Storage of the two songs is the first time DNA has been used for “long-term, archival-quality storage.”

Current conventional storage methods preserve content for hundreds of years, but the use of DNA as a new storage source could extend the life of our content. Synthetic DNA could preserve information (and now audio) for thousands of years. Wyss Institute’s Sriram Kosuri has stated that four grams of DNA could hold all of the world’s information.