Microsoft has bought a whole lot of synthetic DNA, but they are not using it to make a living thing. Instead, it's being used as part of a research project to see if DNA can be used as a storage medium for digital data.
In a press release from Twist Bioscience, the company revealed that Microsoft purchased "ten million long oligonucleotides" of synthetic DNA for this digital data storage project. Twist Bioscience says it could be used to store data that will stay viable for several thousand years, well above current methods. It adds that just one gram of DNA could store nearly one trillion gigabytes of data:
"As our digital data continues to expand exponentially, we need new methods for long-term, secure data storage," said Doug Carmean, a Microsoft partner architect within the company's Technology and Research organization. "The initial test phase with Twist demonstrated that we could encode and recover 100 percent of the digital data from synthetic DNA. We're still years away from a commercially- viable product, but our early tests with Twist demonstrate that in the future we'll be able to substantially increase the density and durability of data storage."
The press release did not state just how much money Microsoft paid for its new batch of synthetic DNA.