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 • 205

  • Daniel Ettinger
    Daniel Ettinger Month ago

    Could we make a literal would tree ?

  • Nick Martin
    Nick Martin 2 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 2 months ago +1

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

  • Rafael Kr
    Rafael Kr 3 months ago

    I had no idea that was possible

  • Anonymous Hatchet
    Anonymous Hatchet 3 months ago +4

    Deus Ex anyone?
    Bad idea folks.

  • Nick Hardy
    Nick Hardy 3 months ago

    i have a usb floppy drive :P

  • Nick Hardy
    Nick Hardy 3 months ago

    Is it possible humans have data written into their DNA?

  • trill 1
    trill 1 3 months ago +2

    can we say MARK OF THE BEAST!

  • Mike Wheeler
    Mike Wheeler 3 months ago

    They should put this video in a thumb😂

  • Jeevan Xtreme
    Jeevan Xtreme 3 months ago +1

    Is it true mam? Or U R imagination

  • Chirag patel
    Chirag patel 3 months ago +2

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

  • Just a Human
    Just a Human 3 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 3 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 3 months ago +5

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

  • Morph Verse
    Morph Verse 3 months ago +3

    Timeless Technology, Great!!!.

    And a good talk indeed!!..

    Love it..

  • David Kincade
    David Kincade 3 months ago +3

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

  • Samantha Atori
    Samantha Atori 3 months ago

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

  • Anisha Pawah
    Anisha Pawah 3 months ago

    Brad Wright travellers- storing digital in blood cells

  • Shafiullah Afridi
    Shafiullah Afridi 3 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 4 months ago


  • Desert Ants
    Desert Ants 4 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 4 months ago

    This video need turkish subtitle

  • duinay3
    duinay3 4 months ago

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

  • Jinhong Chen
    Jinhong Chen 4 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 4 months ago +4

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

  • Shujaat Hussain
    Shujaat Hussain 4 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 2 months ago

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

    • Doctor Black
      Doctor Black 2 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 4 months ago +2

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

  • Chuck Bryan
    Chuck Bryan 4 months ago

    Great presentation; very interesting.

  • EK Lim
    EK Lim 4 months ago

    ahh that's why it's called youtube

  • Bryan Channell
    Bryan Channell 4 months ago

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

  • JustOneAsbesto
    JustOneAsbesto 4 months ago +8

    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 3 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 3 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 3 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 4 months ago


  • Saumya Tomar
    Saumya Tomar 4 months ago

    It is true or not..??

  • Ashish Ranjan
    Ashish Ranjan 4 months ago +3

    Can u plz upload it's hindi version also

  • Matt A
    Matt A 4 months ago +2

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

  • Sharl Sherif
    Sharl Sherif 4 months ago +1

    Elizabeth Holmes 2.0

  • Red Bluefish
    Red Bluefish 4 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.

    • Thunder Cat
      Thunder Cat 4 months ago

      The encoding will NOT be forgotten, because (unlike floppy disks) DNA will always exist, therefore there will always be those working on it and sequencing it. The only way for humanity to forget about how to sequence and process DNA is if there is a major shutdown in human civilization (global nuclear war, giant asteroid slams into the Earth...) something that would cause a sudden loss of most of humanity's scientific advancement, If that happens (as the speaker says) we will have a lot more bigger things to worry about.

  • Kenneth Davis
    Kenneth Davis 4 months ago +2

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

  • dan020350
    dan020350 4 months ago


  • Soumyaneel Manna
    Soumyaneel Manna 4 months ago

    That Trump's pic 😂

  • Akshay Shah
    Akshay Shah 4 months ago

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

  • anonymous ?
    anonymous ? 4 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 4 months ago +18

    This will give viruses a whole new meaning.

  • Phant4sm
    Phant4sm 4 months ago +2

    can DNA run Minecraft at 60 fps?

  • Iaman Empoweredone
    Iaman Empoweredone 4 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?

  • Kuro
    Kuro 4 months ago

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

  • Morning Star
    Morning Star 4 months ago +1

    No animals were harmed to get DNA from !?

    • marwan mohamed
      marwan mohamed 4 months ago

      DNA is synthesized by machines (dna synthesizer)

    • marwan mohamed
      marwan mohamed 4 months ago

      This is the dumpest thing I have readed today

  • Zeeshan Sahito
    Zeeshan Sahito 4 months ago

    future generations are gonna see this comment so Hi from 2019

  • Kurt E. Clothier
    Kurt E. Clothier 4 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...

  • Zappa
    Zappa 4 months ago +2

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

  • Kurt E. Clothier
    Kurt E. Clothier 4 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 4 months ago

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

  • Shankar Sivarajan
    Shankar Sivarajan 4 months ago +8

    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 Month 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 3 months ago

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

    • Jakob Glieder
      Jakob Glieder 3 months ago

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

    • Mikel Syn
      Mikel Syn 4 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.

    • Thunder Cat
      Thunder Cat 4 months ago +1

      The encoding will NOT be forgotten, because (unlike floppy disks) DNA will always exist, therefore there will always be those working on it and sequencing it. The only way for humanity to forget about how to sequence and process DNA is if there is a major shutdown in human civilization (global nuclear war, giant asteroid slams into the Earth...) something that would cause a sudden loss of most of humanity's scientific advancement, If that happens (as the speaker says) we will have a lot more bigger things to worry about.

  • Cyan Diaz
    Cyan Diaz 4 months ago

    digital space it gives you power, administrative power, and it IS the new real estate. i think there is muy mucho mulah in that idea/ and i think also we should try to retrieve the cloud data from the past civilizations we just discovered. They had no writing, being as advanced as they were they didn't need it

  • Salman Khan
    Salman Khan 4 months ago

    Has Google approached you yet?? To build a mega massive DNA datafarm?? And y dose Google not understand the importance of privacy.. y do the have to collect all the data in manipulate ways?? Another hi tech stuff gone to their hands I guess..just coz they can print money..

  • A F
    A F 4 months ago

    This, is, AWESOME!

  • American G.D.A.
    American G.D.A. 4 months ago +2

    This story is 2 years old and NOW, you're posting it?!
    I'm unsubing from this channel for that 1 reason.
    You're ancient in technology.
    I'm looking for a cutting edge channel.
    I thought you touted yourself as that.
    However, I guess I'm wrong about your channel.

    • Kurt E. Clothier
      Kurt E. Clothier 4 months ago +1

      It kept getting bumped from the front of the line for the newest rant on why white men are the cause of all problems in civilization.

  • Volo
    Volo 4 months ago

    looks like she's sprinkling salt in the thumbnail

  • Baxtexx
    Baxtexx 4 months ago +2

    It's good for archiving but what about speed? Maybe we'll use raid 0 or something.

    • Ethan Ross
      Ethan Ross 4 months ago

      DNA replicates exponentially so I guess that will be the speed aspect. As for sequencing it's all about division of labour - how many small fragments can be simultaneously sequenced and then stitched back together to recreate the original information.

    • Guywith Aplan
      Guywith Aplan 4 months ago

      Raid 9000...

  • Christopher
    Christopher 4 months ago

    Is this another Kingdom Hearts plot recap video?

  • Prabhat Doongarwal
    Prabhat Doongarwal 4 months ago

    Too slow

  • GuitarZombie
    GuitarZombie 4 months ago


  • L3P3
    L3P3 4 months ago +1

    This technology is amazing for creating incremental periodic backups! Today, tapes are used but we could also just produce one long dna string of information, clone it in little bacterias living in tiny containers and to read it, just open one container and take a bacteria out...

  • corvs
    corvs 4 months ago

    Subliminals lol.

  • Gabriele Boari
    Gabriele Boari 4 months ago

    I was talking about that this morning lol

  • L3P3
    L3P3 4 months ago +12

    Imagine decoding human or whatever creatures dna and finding actual data like pictures in it hinting towards other computerised civilisations existed thousands of years ago...

    • Thunder Cat
      Thunder Cat 4 months ago +1

      Turns out ancient Egyptians didn't just make statues of cats. They stored dank cat memes in DNA too.

    • L3P3
      L3P3 4 months ago +2

      @Noah Villareal I recommend a trollface.

    • Noah Villareal
      Noah Villareal 4 months ago +4

      We can literally store a profile picture in our DNA for future generations

  • Mohamed Ammar
    Mohamed Ammar 4 months ago

    Can we store MEMES in our D.N.A?

  • greentealatte
    greentealatte 4 months ago +4

    Is she Elizabeth Holmes 2.0?

    • Peter Okorn
      Peter Okorn 4 months ago +1

      Dina is so much cuter ;) I find this speech really great, most TED talks lately are climate change, women rights... this is refreshing

  • End Of Innocence
    End Of Innocence 4 months ago +6

    After 3 minutes of fluff, I gave up.

    • N8 the Great
      N8 the Great 4 months ago +1

      Na bro. Keep listening. The possibilities this stuff brings forward is amazing. This is literally the stuff you see in movies about the future.

  • day6creation breathing
    day6creation breathing 4 months ago

    its works with sound is all i know.

  • H.D. F
    H.D. F 4 months ago +1

    God sustains and creates DNA ❤

    • Albert Einstein
      Albert Einstein 4 months ago +1

      @H.D. F If your ignorant towards Science it means you are against truth. Nothing in this universe is made by god itself. If God created things, Can I ask who created God?

    • H.D. F
      H.D. F 4 months ago +1

      @Albert Einstein prove it

    • Albert Einstein
      Albert Einstein 4 months ago +1

      Take your religion out the matter. God is irrelevant hoax to make commons illusioned. Science and Mathematics is the study of visible truth around us while religion for eternal peace.

  • jolly fire
    jolly fire 4 months ago

    I wanted to say that i want a Brainwave connected data input device, but then i realized if that is possible, rewrite and erase to our brain cells are possible too... scary

  • Sandcastle •
    Sandcastle • 4 months ago

    I'm pretty sure if you leave the word 'monkey' on a bit of dna, after a while when you come back to it it will say 'human'.

  • George Dennis
    George Dennis 4 months ago +2

    She is intelligent and beautiful.

    • George Dennis
      George Dennis 4 months ago

      @L3P3 My key word reaction to what she said was " Intelligent." You obviously lack D.N.A that fosters comprehension.

    • L3P3
      L3P3 4 months ago

      What about reacting to what she says?

  • phenomenal954
    phenomenal954 4 months ago

    Our Creator did not design us to be cyborgs and His design is perfect. So, NO THANK YOU.

    • phenomenal954
      phenomenal954 4 months ago +1

      @Lugh Summerson Complain to the Elites that control everything down to and past that very subject, as I'm just as upset and concerned about women dying in childbirth as you are being that I'm a woman.
      And I'm sure someone so passionate as yourself is probably also outraged that WOC especially suffer.
      We like to place the blame on Yahuah when humanity creates and destroys itself from the inside out.
      That's not His doing, that's MAN; always making the CHOICE to seek solace from The World while pushing God away instead of seeking Him for all things!
      You really think digitizing our bodies will make life better huh? Smh.
      Get to know your Creator for yourself and see the bigger picture.

    • Lugh Summerson
      Lugh Summerson 4 months ago +3

      Are you a representative of the manufacturers? Who do I complain to about all the women who died in childbirth?

  • Jeff Coleman
    Jeff Coleman 4 months ago +2

    HARD PASS!!! Mark of the Beast

    • Jeff Coleman
      Jeff Coleman 4 months ago

      @Robson Neves you're a new ager or dont study scripture.

    • Robson Neves
      Robson Neves 4 months ago

      I'm christian but i honestly can't see how this would be similar to something like the mark of the beast. We don't have to seek conspiracy theories on everything, brother. I used to be paranoid about it and lived in fear, but now i believe that we should spend our time on earth doing something better than being paranoid about "the illuminati" and such.

    • Marsh Mallow
      Marsh Mallow 4 months ago

      Jeff Coleman 🤔

  • Hopi Ng
    Hopi Ng 4 months ago +1

    What’s more worrisome than a greedy society learning they can use you for memory storage and power supply? Down to your dna...

  • R BlankZ
    R BlankZ 4 months ago

    Groundbreaking discovery.. if only she'd spend more time in explaining in detail how sequencing results in digital data

  • Adrián González
    Adrián González 4 months ago

    So any idiot can go to ted nowadays, what a pitty lol :(

  • Mon P.
    Mon P. 4 months ago +2

    They are pushing this crap for us to be chipped like dogs and love it. Just wait, they'll sell it to you as the biggest convenience ever.

    • Youssef Shoaib
      Youssef Shoaib 4 months ago

      Um, actually you can't save any data to YOUR DNA. What she is describing is having tubes like this in our computers in a way that computers can read and write to them

  • Sbu Mdluli
    Sbu Mdluli 4 months ago +25

    Mind blowing! I wanna live pass 100 years , there's a lot of interesting innovation coming our way

    • Sbu Mdluli
      Sbu Mdluli 2 months ago

      @Bobby Digital take me to that future bru

    • Bobby Digital
      Bobby Digital 2 months ago

      Im from the future. in the future you get to time travel because we are living in a hologram.

    • Sbu Mdluli
      Sbu Mdluli 4 months ago

      @Iaman Empoweredone interesting times we living in man.

    • Iaman Empoweredone
      Iaman Empoweredone 4 months ago

      Within 10 years we will be able to reverse aging. Kids born now will be able to choose how long they will want to live.

  • Mogul DaMongrel
    Mogul DaMongrel 4 months ago +1

    1:45 your not going back in time...

  • zztop3000
    zztop3000 4 months ago +1

    9:16 Urrs? You mean errors?

  • ilove2929
    ilove2929 4 months ago +1

    Hello Skynet

  • Harsha P
    Harsha P 4 months ago +55

    Atleast I won't have to study anything anymore

    • BLAIR M Schirmer
      BLAIR M Schirmer 4 months ago

      So many false comparisons in this video, as if we couldn't very easily find floppy drives that work with a contemporary computer should we wish to decipher a floppy disk.

    AWARHERO 4 months ago +1

    Short answer, yes.

  • megh voluntad
    megh voluntad 4 months ago +10

    Isn't this crossing the line? Yes, it is crossing the line. *echoes*

  • thou ist
    thou ist 4 months ago +18

    0:11 Weird flex but okay

  • Aaron Johnson
    Aaron Johnson 4 months ago

    Where is the proof?

  • Animesh Nagar
    Animesh Nagar 4 months ago

    Lucy.. Time has come to build that pen drive in real!!!!

  • Jennifer Folsom
    Jennifer Folsom 4 months ago +1

    I'm wondering what data we have that's worth the risk of what she is presenting. I'm guessing it's these ideas that are driving up demand for infant human bodies and body parts. This is not good.

    • chadoftoons
      chadoftoons 4 months ago +5

      Dna is chemical and doesn't need some kind of human or animal body part to be made - we can extract it from plants. Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine are the As Gs Cs and Ts
      Plants are not different in this regard to us just like viruses as we all share a common ancestor who used DNA or RNA to propegate itself.
      I would worry about your interest in "demand for infant human bodies" since stillborn babies are buried normally and if that is not the case in your country i'd worry about that instead of tech that has nothing todo with that

  • ToDo ParVez
    ToDo ParVez 4 months ago


  • 강민영
    강민영 4 months ago +1


    • Hopi Ng
      Hopi Ng 4 months ago

      강민영 42 plus Mom, Dad, and you.

  • nanometer
    nanometer 4 months ago +1

    damn, never thought of this. spectacular

  • Jahirul Islam
    Jahirul Islam 4 months ago +5

    Access control over emotions 😂😂

  • mhtinla
    mhtinla 4 months ago

    My DNA is best stored in... ME!! Thanks but no madam.

    • John Hillman
      John Hillman 4 months ago

      this is speculative bullshit. Data is not a magic conjuring word. Whatever happened to STEM?

  • Umbe dx
    Umbe dx 4 months ago +8

    As you are speaking as a scientist, do not forget to use facts, no personal opinions.
    Otzi was found in Italy, not in Austria.
    ...has been highlighted its belonging to the haplogroup G2a4 of the Y chromosome, which until now has been found at appreciable frequencies only in the populations of Sardinia and Corsic...

    • Cris M
      Cris M 3 months ago

      Poor presentation

    • chadoftoons
      chadoftoons 4 months ago +5

      Its impossible to have perfect knowledge and still have time for living she was basically pointing to an article in that joke that was supposed to be a lead in for the talk