From the UK Independent:
Single DNA molecule could store information for a“A little after the discovery of the double helix architecture of DNA, people figured out that the coding language of nature is very similar to the binary language we use in computers,” Dr Grass said.
million years following scientific breakthrough
“On a hard drive, we use zeros and ones to represent data, and in DNA we have four nucleotides, A, C, T and G,” he said.
The DNA molecules were synthesised by machine and heated to 71C for a week, which is equivalent to being stored at 50C for 2,000 years, after which it was decoded back into the original text without any errors, Dr Grass told the meeting.
[...]DNA has the advantage over hard drives in that it is an extremely dense form of data storage with the potential to survive for long periods of time. An external hard drive for instance is about the size of a paperback book, can store about five terabytes of data and might last 50 years.
In contrast, an ounce (28 grams) of DNA could fit on a penny, store 300,000 terabytes of memory and palaeontologists have shown the information stored in DNA recovered from fossils can survive for up to a million years.
One of the remaining problems, other than the currently exorbitant cost of making DNA for digital storage, is to be able to retrieve the information quickly and easily, which is why Dr Grass is working on a method of labelling specific places on the DNA molecule to make it easier to search.