More April Milestones

April 20 was Weed Day, an annual celebration of marijuana.  April 23 was the birthday of British playwright William Shakespeare.  I’ve blogged before how Agilent technologies were used to research whether Shakespeare used marijuana.

Here’s another connection between Agilent and the Bard.

As the amount of information in the world increases, scientists are looking for better ways to store it.  Digital media can archive large amounts of information, but it requires active, continuing maintenance.

Believe it or not, DNA has become an attractive target for information storage.  DNA has a capacity for high-density information encoding.  It has longevity under easily achieved conditions.  And it has a proven track record as an information bearer.

Agilent scientists, working with the European Bioinformatics Institute, were able to encode 739 kbs of information into a DNA code, synthesize the DNA, sequence it, then reconstruct the original files with 100-percent accuracy.  The test information included all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

The researchers used an updated Agilent oligo library synthesis process to create 1.2 x 107 copies of each DNA string.  They shipped the synthesized DNA from the USA to Germany without specialized packaging, then successfully decoded the stored information.

The researchers believe that with continued technological advances, DNA may become a cost-effective method for large-scale, long-term information storage within a decade.

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564.

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564.

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