Monthly Archives: September 2016

DNA as a solution to computer storage

In this blog post, I wanted to draw your attention to an article published in Nature at the beginning of the week.

Essentially, it documents how a group of bioinformaticians have turned the presumed ridiculous idea of storing data in DNA into a plausible option.

It is quite ironic really, as one of the major hurdles of sequencing the genome is how or where do we store the  1.5 Gb worth of A,C,T and Gs? We have now turned this on its head with the realization that DNA is such an efficient way of compacting lots of information into a small space maybe we should try to take advantage of this.  It is a neat example of how nature has a solution for a very modern problem.

This article, also highlights to me the computational challenge genetics faces to manage and process data efficiently. Once we were able to sequence the genome, the technology continued to develop to do it faster, cheaper and more accurately, dramatically increasing the data outputted. Alongside this we need the software to keep up, or even ahead of the technologies.

Some software is developed by researchers as a necessity to get their projects done, but many companies, will develop programs in parallel to developing sequencing machines in order to offer the complete package to consumers. This means that if you are not interested in the academic lifestyle or a career in scientific research, there are plenty of alternative opportunities in industry.

It means you will be working at the cutting edge of genomic’s technology, but also as the article highlight the cutting edge of computational solutions.