How we can store digital data in DNA | Dina Zielinski

  • Published on Mar 21, 2019
  • From floppy disks to thumb drives, every method of storing data eventually becomes obsolete. What if we could find a way to store all the world's data forever? Bioinformatician Dina Zielinski shares the science behind a solution that's been around for a few billion years: DNA.
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  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 214

  • PANdaramic Firefox
    PANdaramic Firefox 3 months ago

    I'd recommend having encoded data in DNA left for later life following us in the event we become extinct along with a carbon sample to accurately date when it was made.

  • XanderCreates
    XanderCreates 5 months ago

    Just one question
    How would we access this data?

  • carlindelco
    carlindelco 5 months ago

    Rest assured spy agencies will have this figured out before we ever know about it

  • Rolf Leseratz
    Rolf Leseratz 5 months ago

    DNA is not a storage device!

  • Sano Kei
    Sano Kei 5 months ago +1

    A wise man once said you can store 40 TB worth of badwidth data in one male ejaculation.

  • Daniel Ettinger
    Daniel Ettinger 7 months ago

    Could we make a literal would tree ?

  • Nick Martin
    Nick Martin 8 months ago

    Okey. The few gigabits of human dna can create a brain that can store several petabytes of data and also process it. I don't think direct encoding is the most efficient way of saving the data. We could create algorithms that could further compress data such that when it's decoded, just like growing, it reveals way much more data.

  • Гид по геотехнике

    There is a sense of logical incompleteness of Your speech.

  • Iaman Empoweredone
    Iaman Empoweredone 8 months ago +1

    We are all time travelling right now. In our natural state time does not exist.

  • Rafael Kr
    Rafael Kr 9 months ago

    I had no idea that was possible

  • Anonymous Hatchet
    Anonymous Hatchet 9 months ago +5

    Deus Ex anyone?
    Bad idea folks.

  • Nick Hardy
    Nick Hardy 9 months ago

    i have a usb floppy drive :P

  • Nick Hardy
    Nick Hardy 9 months ago

    Is it possible humans have data written into their DNA?

  • trill 1
    trill 1 9 months ago +2

    can we say MARK OF THE BEAST!

  • Timothèe Chalamet
    Timothèe Chalamet 9 months ago

    They should put this video in a thumb😂

  • Jeevan Xtreme
    Jeevan Xtreme 9 months ago +1

    Is it true mam? Or U R imagination

  • Chirag patel
    Chirag patel 9 months ago +3

    Can we able to use Mia Khalifa's DNA to make a new Mia khalifa ?

  • Just a Human
    Just a Human 10 months ago +1

    how to read write and delete data on DNA?
    is it safe for human body?
    is the data secure? or we have to encode it? and how we decode the data if it encoded?

  • Djelari Ghana
    Djelari Ghana 10 months ago

    we already have all the info in the DNA. haha......why reinvent the wheel? too much tech = death. lots of nature = life.

    i think females in tech just have failed relationships with men.

  • Justin Akers
    Justin Akers 10 months ago +5

    I love Ted talks. I’ve learned a lot by watching these.

  • Nova Verse
    Nova Verse 10 months ago +3

    Timeless Technology, Great!!!.

    And a good talk indeed!!..

    Love it..

  • David Kincade
    David Kincade 10 months ago +3

    We could store everything in DNA? Actually, it already is!! By everyones (all organisms included) experiences.

  • Samantha Atori
    Samantha Atori 10 months ago

    No free energy, though? I guess that has less nefarious intention.

  • Anisha Pawah
    Anisha Pawah 10 months ago

    Brad Wright travellers- storing digital in blood cells

  • Shafiullah Afridi
    Shafiullah Afridi 10 months ago

    Still God doesn’t exist? How DNA exist at first place with such incredible engineering and design. Isn’t there someone supreme being behind it ? How it come by itself ?

  • Hussein Nour
    Hussein Nour 10 months ago


  • Desert Ants
    Desert Ants 10 months ago

    I'm down. This could be useful for long distance space travel. To keep moral up on a vessel people need entertainment. This can store Thousands of terabytes of data in a very, very small, and light weight package. A computer that could read the files quickly (Maybe lasers or hi resolution photography) would sell like hotcakes.

  • Batuhan Başaran
    Batuhan Başaran 10 months ago

    This video need turkish subtitle

  • duinay3
    duinay3 10 months ago

    but the dna is stored in the vial which can easily be destroyed

  • Jinhong Chen
    Jinhong Chen 10 months ago

    6 trillion cells in human body, 3 billion base pair in each cell, every base pair contains 2 bit data. So human body contains 2*6 trillion*3 billion/8/1024/1024/1024/1024 = 4 billion TB data. Is it right?

  • Skwiggs Skytower
    Skwiggs Skytower 10 months ago +8

    "that growth isn't cancer.. i'm backing up the shared drive"

  • Shujaat Hussain
    Shujaat Hussain 10 months ago

    To, change or store data in DNA, is not possible unless we know ,how to splice (a) GENE in a DNA.
    Is GENE splicing possible?
    Any way, thank you Dina.

    • Shujaat Hussain
      Shujaat Hussain 8 months ago

      @Doctor Black t/y, I meant natural being's DNA.
      If it is possible then go.....................

    • Doctor Black
      Doctor Black 8 months ago

      Shujaat Hussain yes, splicing is possible and no, it is not necessary for dna data storage. You can artificially engineer nucleotide sequences from scratch rather than edit preexisting genomes

    JUST SAYING 10 months ago +2

    *Why these types of ideas never come from developing country*

  • Chuck Bryan
    Chuck Bryan 10 months ago

    Great presentation; very interesting.

  • EK Lim
    EK Lim 10 months ago +1

    ahh that's why it's called youtube

  • Bryan Channell
    Bryan Channell 10 months ago

    I love the potential of data and gpu, and cpus using dna vs binsry code

  • JustOneAsbesto
    JustOneAsbesto 10 months ago +9

    I came to learn *HOW* they actually print DNA, not just "Oh, we just write it, and they make it, and we sequence it. MAGIC!"
    And how the heck do you replicate it 200 trillion times without a single error? Bacteria could make the copies for you real quick, but then you just end up with tonnes of errors. Cloning? How?
    Also, I know it's not her field, but Pioneer plaques?? They were on Voyager.
    I'm not mad, Dina. I'm just disappointed.

    • Dirty Poul
      Dirty Poul 9 months ago

      It doesn't need to be without a single error. Digital data on hard drives include plenty of errors too. There is simply enough leeway to make it not matter. With DNA, you could store a billion copies. If you sequence just 3 of them, you'd be almost guaranteed to have the original without errors since the same error is unlikely to hit the same place twice. Kind of why you have two copies of your genes as well.

    • Paul Malaud
      Paul Malaud 10 months ago +1

      JustOneAsbesto well, it may not be your field too, but the plaque she’s talking about actually was sent with pionner. The one you’re talking about (sent with voyager) is a different one

    • Lorenzo Wormer
      Lorenzo Wormer 10 months ago

      As for replicating it 200 trillion times, she was probably talking about polymerase chain reaction, a relatively simple and inexpensive process to make copies of DNA in the lab. But I agree with you, she was kind of only repeating the same trivia over and over again... painful to listen to....

  • Andrew Flowers
    Andrew Flowers 10 months ago


  • Saumya Shastri
    Saumya Shastri 10 months ago

    It is true or not..??

  • Ashish Ranjan
    Ashish Ranjan 10 months ago +3

    Can u plz upload it's hindi version also

  • Matt A
    Matt A 10 months ago +2

    Thumbnail kinda reminds me of the Salt Bae Salting Pose. Bored Ted Employee? Heh

  • Sharl Sherif
    Sharl Sherif 10 months ago +1

    Elizabeth Holmes 2.0

  • Red Bluefish
    Red Bluefish 10 months ago

    The encoding/compression algorithms ARE prone to be forgotten. You can have an old modem that still works, but unable to be used because the logical protocols have changed. Same problem here.

  • Kenneth Davis
    Kenneth Davis 10 months ago +2

    My God is the greatest data scientist. 30 trillion cells all carrying billions of code. Jesus is the boss.

  • dan020350
    dan020350 10 months ago


  • Soumyaneel Manna
    Soumyaneel Manna 10 months ago

    That Trump's pic 😂

  • Akshay Shah
    Akshay Shah 10 months ago

    If we store something on DNA than it may be possible that outcome DNA may indicate some other species.

  • anonymous ?
    anonymous ? 10 months ago

    Why was this only uploaded now?

  • Heretics shall be cleansed

    Seems way too much like another THERANOS to me. Too suspicious.

  • iviewthetube
    iviewthetube 10 months ago +35

    This will give viruses a whole new meaning.

    • A Rahman
      A Rahman 19 days ago

      @yuval158 yeah.😃

    • yuval158
      yuval158 19 days ago +1

      this will give viruses back their original meaning.

    • A Rahman
      A Rahman 21 day ago

      But what about security.

    • A Rahman
      A Rahman 21 day ago medicine will need to protect our information in the DNA from the viruses.

  • Monkadelic
    Monkadelic 10 months ago +2

    can DNA run Minecraft at 60 fps?

  • Iaman Empoweredone
    Iaman Empoweredone 10 months ago

    If God didn't want us to mess around with this stuff He wouldn't have given us a brain! But, how do we apply morality to it?

  • saadmrb
    saadmrb 10 months ago

    Can we have access to them from our brains when we need those informations ? =D

  • L. MorningStar
    L. MorningStar 10 months ago +1

    No animals were harmed to get DNA from !?

    • marwan mohamed
      marwan mohamed 10 months ago

      DNA is synthesized by machines (dna synthesizer)

    • marwan mohamed
      marwan mohamed 10 months ago

      This is the dumpest thing I have readed today

  • Zeeshan Sahito
    Zeeshan Sahito 10 months ago +1

    future generations are gonna see this comment so Hi from 2019

  • Kurt E. Clothier
    Kurt E. Clothier 10 months ago

    Really interesting topic, a bit of fluff, but otherwise well presented. I wonder if the goal was really to back up our peak DNA and restore it later as it starts to naturally break down or mutate. No more getting old...

  • Lucifer
    Lucifer 10 months ago +2

    This is the mark of the beast the bible warned about!

  • Kurt E. Clothier
    Kurt E. Clothier 10 months ago

    @2:50, regarding the floppies, that is exactly how numerous government agencies store important codes and data because they are too scared to update the systems for fear of them failing and launching all the nukes.

  • onetan
    onetan 10 months ago

    Etsuko Yakushimaru stored her song onto a microorganism. Check out "I'm Humanity".

  • Shankar Sivarajan
    Shankar Sivarajan 10 months ago +9

    The encoding will still be forgotten, which probably defeats the purpose. It's like writing on stone tablets which last millennia, but no one can read it.

    • Arpan Bag
      Arpan Bag 8 months ago

      Nice thought, but I think we can tackle this by making a standard encoding worldwide. and keep using it, or ensure backward compatibility while upgrading the encoding.

    • NZCheekyDarky
      NZCheekyDarky 9 months ago

      Unless we store the encoder process in the DNA as well so it becomes 1st nature

    • Jakob Glieder
      Jakob Glieder 9 months ago

      We have decoded ancient languages before, so I think we can do it again

    • Mikel Syn
      Mikel Syn 10 months ago +2

      @Thunder Cat Don't think that's the point. You can get all the 1s and 0s back, but if you don't know what that means, then it's pointless. The game Red Alert was created in 1996 on a CD. Today, you can't play it using modern computers and OSes, even though we still have the devices that can read it. We may not even know how to read Jpeg files by 2050.