As modern storage technologies have struggled to keep up with the rapid growth of digital data, researchers are trying to find a more effective way to store massive data simply and efficiently. Scientists have proposed a solution to this problem, that is, to use DNA as the medium of information storage. With the continuing improvements of DNA sequencing and synthesis technologies, storing information within DNA sequence is achievable. DNA storage technology has a significant advantage over existing storage devices with respect to large and stable storage. This technology is capable of storing 700TB of data within 1 gram of DNA. This large amount of data can also be preserved for a long time and with little to no data lost over time. In addition, DNA storage does not rely on power supply or regular maintenance. For this reason, DNA digital storage is also environmentally friendly and convenient for users. In recent years, there has been a rapid development of DNA data storage technology, leading to some interesting case studies. In 2013, European scientists successfully stored an MP3 file of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in DNA for the first time. In 2017, Microsoft announced that they were planning to develop a beta version of “miniature DNA biological storage” for three years. The aim of this project is to store movies, videos, photos, and valuable documents from around the world.
The wide application of DNA storage technology is greatly benefiting from fast, accurate, low-cost DNA sequencing (“read”) and synthesis (“write”) services. As the cost of sequencing decreases exponentially with the trajectory like Moore’s Law, the reading and comprehending of genetic sequences is no longer the bottleneck for DNA data storage. However, accurately writing data is still the main obstacle to accomplishing DNA storage. Researchers are mainly faced with two difficulties: the flux and the cost of the second-generation DNA synthesis technology widely used currently cannot meet the needs of DNA data storage. Although the conversion of digital information into DNA is improving, there are still great challenges to overcome.