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Salmon DNA Used In Data Storage Device

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the also-tastes-great-on-the-grill dept.

Biotech 51

Zothecula writes "Scientists from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a 'write-once-read-many-times' (WORM) memory device that combines electrodes, silver nanoparticles, and salmon DNA. While the current device is simply a proof-of-concept model, the researchers have stated that DNA could turn out to be a less expensive alternative to traditional inorganic materials such as silicon."

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51 comments

Um... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38642492)

Sounds fishy!

Re:Um... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38642532)

As they age, what will they smell like?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

Re:Um... (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38642828)

Just 2 things came to mind:

If you can't find your disk drive, look upstream.

My eyes cross at how one is going to "spawn" a "backup."
I'm sorry, that thought was just wrong, and its my fault.

Re:Um... (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643122)

My eyes cross at how one is going to "spawn" a "backup."
 

You don't. Salmon die after spawning. So your spawned backup becomes your new primary storage.

(Incidentally, lazy bald eagles rely on this phenomenon to feed - they "catch" the salmon after they've spawned and eat the carcass. Saves them having to hunt and grab live ones.)

Re:Um... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38643698)

(Incidentally, lazy bald eagles rely on this phenomenon to feed - they "catch" the salmon after they've spawned and eat the carcass. Saves them having to hunt and grab live ones.)

Would that qualify as spawn camping?

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38651870)

That's not being lazy! That’s being efficient!
Lazy is, when you are saving so much energy, that it actually makes things worse. Like MS Clippy "thinking" for you, instead of doing it yourself.

Efficiency is a evolutionary advantage. So it's a good thing.

Re:Um... (2)

fredmunge (717927) | more than 2 years ago | (#38654368)

My Cod! Could you scale it back a bit? I mean look chum, I'm floundering at trying to figure out how to respond to such humor. But the tide may turn on whether others will lob and stir further responses. Now I'm not trying to be crabby here, nor am I trying to make anemone. But I just haddock respond. Ok, I'll clam up now.

cheaper, but more stable? (4, Funny)

mineral2 (2021772) | more than 2 years ago | (#38642562)

Might be cheaper, but I bet its more prone to mutation and degradation. Will this lead to data evolution?

Re:cheaper, but more stable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38642906)

It will be very unstable if there is a cat nearby.

fish and WORMs (4, Funny)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 2 years ago | (#38642592)

well of course you'd use WORMs with fish....

Re:fish and WORMs (0)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643822)

I guess they did this exclusively for the pun.

Normally you call write once read many "ROM".

Re:fish and WORMs (2)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647420)

not strictly true, actually--WORM [wikipedia.org] is a perfectly valid concept in data storage. roughly speaking, i'd say the difference is in whether users are meant to be the ones doing the "write once" part.

Saw that coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38642644)

DNA and the Cosmic Serpent. Ayahuasca. Etc.

Coming to a Future Near You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38642670)

You gotta tell 'em! Soylent flash is people!

Price of salmon (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38642676)

combines electrodes, silver nanoparticles, and salmon DNA. ... DNA could turn out to be a less expensive alternative to traditional inorganic materials such as silicon.

could turn out = Weasel words. After I arrive at home, it could turn out that space aliens have swapped my wife out for a supermodel as part of an alien sociology research study regarding recreational human reproductive activities, but I'm thinking its unlikely.

Have you seen the price of salmon? I had a nice grilled slab last night wrapped in some herb leaves and lemon juice. I could buy quite the stack of I2C flash memory chips for that price. I'm not thinking that the salmon-flashdrive equivalent of the HHGTTG babel-fish is necessarily going to be profitable. And carrying around a dead fish with firefox installed on it sounds like some Stross Laundry series plot.

Re:Price of salmon (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643120)

Have you counted how many DNAs in one pound of Salmon?

Re:Price of salmon (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643678)

I donno man. Smallest feature size I've heard for flash is 19 nm and I'm sure it'll continue to drop. DNA single nucleotide unit length aka pitch is about a third of a nm and has not shrunk at all in a couple billion years for some basic chemistry reasons.

Lets say you get flash down to 5 nm and shove 20 bits worth of multiple levels (basically analog storage with A/D and D/A interface). This in unrealistic at this time, but then again, DNA storage is unrealistic at this time. That flash data density would spell serious trouble for DNA storage on a pure size basis.

They better hurry up and get this DNA tech off the ground before its left in the dust like happened to bubble memory in the 70s/80s. Bubble memory would have displaced core back in the 50s but it took too long and by the time it hit the market, it was technologically obsolete. This could happen to DNA memory.

Re:Price of salmon (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643180)

It's not a weasel word, it's a reflection that the future isn't yet known. If we already knew the answer what would be the point of speculating on it in the first place?

I realize that there are lots of people out there that have a pathological hatred of qualifiers, but they do serve a purpose and that's to inform the reader that there is uncertainty. And ideally they should give some indication about the reliability of the prediction.

Re:Price of salmon (1)

the biologist (1659443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38646056)

Keep in mind, when they say 'salmon DNA', they mean 'DNA from salmon sperm'. Why? Salmon sperm is the cheapest bulk DNA product on the market.

Re:Price of salmon (1)

infinitelink (963279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38661492)

A hunk of Salmon ultimately would be unnecessary. Not lot of salmon meat is needed, just an initial sample of salmon DNA and an understanding of PCR (and a lab to utilize it) to produce the DNA en masse; more to the point, not a lot of DNA would be needed I think to store much information on some chip.

Still a ways to go.... (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643042)

30 minutes is good in the lab, but in reality, we need WORM technologies to be readable for a lot longer than the stated 10^5 seconds. We need readability in decades or centuries for the underlying medium, and that is before we slap the ECC layer on top to deal with bad sectors/blocks and such.

What might complement this technology would be developing a way to cause the DNA to polymerize (similar to how organic tissue is preserved in "Bodies: The Exhibition"), so once it is written, it stays in that form for a far longer period of time.

It's time to shop shop shop (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38643080)

It's 3 o'clock and so it's time to shop shop shop.

Say, have you ever sat at your computer and had a thought of eating something while watching the porn? Has FBI ever storm your house to get you and your computer and have you thought to yourself: Dammit, I wish I could just eat that harddrive to prevent the agents from finding my treasured information? Well NOW YOU CAN!

Our latest line of products includes edible salmon drives, they will not only store your most 'important' data securely, but they taste like your favorite fish chips.

Buy NOW and get a bottle of this excellent Lemon Tartar Sauce absolutely FREE!

Buy 2 and get 1 free. We'll also throw in 2 crab memory sticks, an oyster mouse and a carp pad. ALL with just five easy payments of $19.99.

Order will not last, call now.

(void where prohibited, batteries not included).

Good thing it's not "BUG"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38643520)

Good thing it's "WORM" and not "BUG" otherwise it might not have worked with RAID...

Douglas Adams doubts it will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38643954)

Douglas Adams doubts it will work

Re:Douglas Adams doubts it will work (1)

DrStoooopid (1116519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647652)

+1, Sir.....+1.... ...and now even the salmon are wondering if it was a good idea to swim up-stream, because they're being made to come on shore whether they want to or not.

Fish DNA? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38647178)

Don't we already have caviar hard disks?

So what this means.... (1)

DrStoooopid (1116519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38647644)

...is that if you're tired of your mother wondering if you're gay (or any friend or family member for that matter)....just buy a spindle of S-CDR's and leave them in the sun for a week.

"My my my...it smells like sex in here"

How can alternative materials be cheaper than Si? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38649474)

Both WORM and PROM are One-Time Programmables (OTP). In PROMs, you program the device once, and then you can read as many times from the same device. It's been used for decades in embedded products. Right now, they have pretty good densities - up to 1GB, IIRC. Dunno if they've gone higher than that. The number of companies that made mask ROMs have winnowed out, as have the number of OTP manufacturers. But that's the only thing that has slowed down the price erosion of such memories, which probably are already selling @ cost.

So the thing I'm trying to figure out here is - how is using salmon DNA going to make cheaper memories, particularly when salmon is not as abundant on earth as sand? In recent years, there have been attempts to look for alternatives to silicon - such as ferro-electric materials, or conductive polymers. But I don't see how the economics of such materials would be better than silicon. And in case of the latter, they are largely petroleum by-products, or can they be mass-produced synthetically?

As the scope of shrinking silicon hits the point of diminishing returns, it seems to me that the focus ought to be on either making silicon semiconductor manufacturing itself cheaper, or coming out w/ alternative solutions when die shrinks are not an option. At least not a cheap option.

Salmon-based storage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38652312)

I suspect there will be scaling issues!

We will all remember (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#38652760)

We will all remember the day that melted butter and a spot of lemon juice entered the standard computer tech's toolkit.
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