Science & Enterprise subscription

Follow us on Twitter

  • A biotechnology company is receiving European Commission and French government funds to develop vaccines that prote… https://t.co/Ijt0cLCBd0
    about 9 hours ago
  • New post on Science and Enterprise: EC, France Fund Universal Covid-19, Flu Vaccines https://t.co/qT6cmb5P1S #Science #Business
    about 9 hours ago
  • Plant scientists in California discovered a natural peptide that stops bacteria from causing citrus greening, a dis… https://t.co/S4C9V2nW0p
    about 14 hours ago
  • New post on Science and Enterprise: Univ. Lab Discovers, Licenses Citrus Disease Treatment https://t.co/Hz2YkVgnac #Science #Business
    about 14 hours ago
  • The federal health preparedness agency is spending more than $2 billion for developers to produce Covid-19 vaccines… https://t.co/7P1yBG9iO5
    about 1 day ago

Please share Science & Enterprise

Synthetic DNA Studied for Mass Data Storage

DNA illustration

(Nogas1974, Wikimedia Commons)

16 Jan. 2020. An industry-academic consortium received a U.S. government contract to develop coded synthetic polymer chemicals like DNA for reliably storing massive amounts of data. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa, awarded the four-year contract of up to $23 million to the Molecular Encoding Consortium, that includes the company DNA Script in Paris and labs at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, a genomics research center affiliated with Harvard and MIT.

Iarpa is seeking a stable, deployable technology for storing massive amounts of data expected from advances in informatics, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and autonomous vehicles. These rapid and parallel advances are stretching current data storage facilities, such as data centers, to their limits, requiring ever-larger physical plants, higher power consumption, and much higher costs. Building more of these large and expensive facilities is becoming increasingly unfeasible and not sustainable.

Iarpa, an office under the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, established its molecular information storage program to find out if synthetic chemicals such as sequence-controlled polymers can solve this growing problem. Polymers are common chains of molecules called monomers found throughout nature, but those monomer chains can also, under some conditions, be purposefully arranged to create synthetic polymers not found in nature. With sequence-controlled polymers, the order of these monomer chains can be controlled and arranged to represent predetermined codes for data storage.

The Molecular Encoding Consortium aims to explore if a new type of DNA synthesis process using enzymes, when combined with high-throughput sequencing, can meet Iarpa’s needs. DNA Script designs synthetic nucleic acids including DNA, which the company says uses efficient enzymes to produce synthetic nucleic acids faster, more reliably, and with fewer errors. DNA Script produces synthetic DNA and other nucleic acids for drug discovery, biofuels, biomaterials, engineered food crops, and data storage.

Robert Nicol, director of technology development at the Broad Institute and principal investigator on the project says in a DNA Script statement, “This project [is] at the intersection of molecular biology, physics, chemistry, information theory, and electrical engineering,” and adds, “The objectives set out by IARPA for this four-year program are ambitious and will require scientific innovations, as well as robust and scalable technologies.”

The consortium includes the lab of physicist and engineering professor Donhee Ham at Harvard University, that studies nanoscale tools for biology, including chip devices interacting with biological processes, and will provide that expertise for the project. The team also plans to add genetics technology company Illumina Inc. to the project. The company is offering its sequencing by synthesis technology that the company says makes possible base-by-base sequencing for accurate analysis.

Thomas Ybert, CEO of DNA Script notes that the project “will require us to push current technological limits to bring to life our cutting-edge technology, while also delivering an operational solution to one of the most important challenges of our time.”

More from Science & Enterprise:

*     *     *

Please share Science & Enterprise ...

Comments are closed.