Technology

A painting by a Japanese artist has been preserved inside protein molecules.

Many large companies never deleteinformation from their servers, so there is a risk that someday humanity will have nowhere to store information. At the very least, this can happen when using current drives, but by starting to write information to DNA or other molecules, the problem can be at least temporarily fixed. Writing to DNA molecules takes quite a long time and costs a lot of money, so researchers from Harvard and Northwestern University in Chicago have developed a new method, concluded in the implementation of data in protein molecules.

According to project manager Brian Cafferty,The developed method allows you to save all the information from the New York Public Library in one teaspoon of protein. The best variation of such molecules was considered oligopeptides, which are much smaller than DNA molecules and are synthesized much faster. Due to such properties, the cost and duration of data recording can be significantly reduced.

Numbers, letters and pixels are written on proteins inas groups containing eight ones and zeros. If there are data in a molecule, they are represented in the form of a unit, and if not, in the form of a zero. Subsequently, the oligopeptides are placed on a flat plate with tiny holes, which are printed on a reliable metal surface.

This data is then read usinga mass spectrometer that weighs each molecule and finds out if it contains information or not. So, in eight molecules you can save one byte of information, and in 32 - as many as four bytes. Using this method, the researchers were able to keep the whole picture of Katsushik Hokusai “The Great Wave in Kanagawa” inside the molecules, and the portrait of Claude Shannon - “the father of the information age”.

Information can be read with an accuracy of 99.9%. It is noteworthy that the data encoded in this way cannot be so easily lost as if they were stored on hard disks. Perhaps, after thousands of years, descendants of people will be able to learn about our culture precisely because of protein storage devices.

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