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06. Safe fragrances
05. DNA mass information store
04. Garden mounds for permaculture
03. Silver as high-tech material
02. Micro needle transmits medications and light
01. Electricity storage in gravity systems

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12. Ultrasound in water
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12. ebooks
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12 Bacteria in agriculture and industry
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02. Agriculture: food,fiber and fuel
01. FPGA floating-point performance surpasses microprocessor

08. Energy sources for electricity compete
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Vol. 8, No. 5, May 31, 2013
ISSN 1932-3018

DNA mass information store
Positioning this technology in the
Functionality Grid
Reformatted from: Van Wyk, Rias J: Technology - A Unifying Code, 2004, SMG, Cape Town, p.34. Based on: Ropohl, Gunter: Eine Systemtheorie der Technik, 1979, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich and Vienna, p.178.
This Newsbrief deals with a potential novel use of DNA - as a general storage media not necessarily associated with genetic use. In terms of the functionality grid it is concerned with storing information (I).
Technology explorers are on the lookout for better ways of storing information.

They seek a medium that:

  • Increases the functional performance metric (FPM) for storage devices - e.g., bits per cubic millimeter
  • Has a long life
  • Uses an appropriate code
A Tech Alert published by Spectrum, "Reading and writing a book with DNA" August 23, 2012, documents the storage of a 53000 word book using DNA. To read the book requires the use of gene-sequencing technology. According to Spectrum genetic storage has a far higher FPM than flash memory, or even experimental memories such as quantum holography. As to the life of DNA, it has been pointed out that archaeologists have retrieved 7000 year old DNA from human remains.
In the scale of present innovations these performance metrics place DNA at a superior level to other available procedures. The question to be asked is what efforts are being invested to use this superior performance in an industrial setting?
There is a rich harvest. For example: The logical next step is to use strands of DNA synthesized by a machine. This will store large amounts of information on strands of material too small to see. [Weintraub, K., "The newest data-storage device? DNA". USA Today, January 23, 2013.] Also DNA has been retrieved from a woolly mammoth dead for 20000 years. Furthermore, DNA provides the opportunity to use a persistent code. "...since all life on Earth is made of DNA we should have the capacity to read that information regardless of how the technology changes over the next millennia."
On the NASA nine point scale, this technology has a technology readiness level (TRL) of 2 to 3. Because of the outstanding technological characteristics of DNA, technology explorers should anticipate a burgeoning of interest in this field.

© Rias J. van Wyk, 2013. Editor.