Man-made DNA can now store data for millions of years

Gigaom

Swiss scientists have discovered encasing DNA in glass and chilling it down can preserve data encoded in it for millions of years, moving them closer to an entirely new, and better, way to store the world’s information.

Researchers first turned data into DNA and then retrieved it two years ago, but it degraded too quickly to be useful as a long-term storage device. But nature already had a solution.

Chill DNA down and fossilize it, and it can last for millions of years. When scientists discovered a woolly mammoth in Siberia in 2013, they were ecstatic to find the region’s icy conditions had left the 40,000-year-old fossil so well-preserved that they were able to extract long strands of DNA that gave them hope that they could someday clone the extinct beast.

The team at ETH Zurich couldn’t exactly wait thousands of years for natural fossilization to occur, but they achieved a similar effect by…

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