MIT CEO Biotech Community with James Banal: Store Data in DNA (put the whole world in a mug)

Is there a reliable way to store all the data we’ve ever generated? Will we be able to handle the data storage needs against the backdrop of the upcoming AI age? While current “cloud” storage costs billions of dollars to build and run, more researchers and companies are already looking for an alternative technology: DNA data storage.



DNA-based data storage has plenty of advantages over our current technology. DNA is a thousandfold denser than a flash memory. The 4-letter ATCG code of DNA encodes approximately 1 gigabyte of information in each of our cells, and it is already being routinely synthesized, sequenced and accurately copied with ease. A DNA polymer doesn’t consume any energy to store data and stays stable for more than a century.

But why are we not using DNA to store our data already?
The answer is cost and speed. Besides the fact that it currently costs 1 trillion dollars to write one petabytes of data (one thousand terabytes), retrieving the target data from a piece of DNA is as difficult as trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Cache DNA is among the pioneers to solve this problem. The company encapsulated DNA data snippets into a small silica particle labeled with “barcodes” corresponding to its contents. To pull out a specific piece of data, they simply “scan” the barcode with matching primers.

This episode of Biotech Series, we are honored to speak to Dr. James Banal, the co-founder of the technique lead of Cache DNA, and discuss with him the interesting scientific thinking and technical details behind the scene, as well as the business prospect of this technique.

The event is finished.


Oct 12 2021


9:00 pm - 10:30 pm

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