Catalog, a Boston-based Synthetic DNA startup, has come up with a novel way of solving the problem that arises as the data storage costs keep growing. The startup is developing a platform that uses synthetic DNA to store digital data, and it has partnered with data storage provider Seagate Technology for research to expand its automated DNA storage and computation platform.
DNA data storage refers to the process of using DNA molecules as a storage medium. DNA data won’t be stored in binary numbers (i.e., 1s and 0s), unlike the optical and magnetic storage methods used today. As an alternative, they would be saved as the DNA nucleotide bases (A, C, G, and T).
The partnership focuses on employing Seagate’s specially created electrical chips to automate the DNA-based storage platform.
In contrast to traditional microprocessors, which process binary code, Seagate’s device features tiny reservoirs that process synthetic DNA in liquid form in small amounts. By processing liquid from one reservoir with liquid from another reservoir, a chemical reaction is produced.
Catalog says its current prototype DNA computation and storage platform, or DNA writer, called Shannon, has demonstrated the potential of DNA computation and storage as a proof of concept, but it is a large machine that requires a significant amount of chemistry. The size of Shannon is like an average family kitchen, according to Catalog.
According to Catalog, Shannon, the startup’s current prototype DNA computation and storage platform, has shown the viability of DNA computation and storage as a proof of concept, but it is a big machine that necessitates a lot of chemistry as its size is comparable to a typical family kitchen.
Consequently, Catalog involves minimizing the amount of chemistry and increasing the level of automation needed for DNA storage and computation in order to create a commercially viable DNA storage platform.
The two companies are collaborating to develop the next generation of DNA-based computing and storage systems, which will use less energy, be more affordable, and be up to 1,000 times smaller. According to the catalog, the first combined chemistry and electronics test is set to begin in the middle of September.
Additionally, the “lab on a chip” technology from Seagate can also be used to fit on PCs or to create IoT devices.
“Collaborating with an industry leader like Seagate will help speed our ability to advance DNA storage. In addition to DNA storage, Catalog has already discovered the means to incorporate DNA into algorithms and applications with potential widespread cases including artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and secure computing. This work with Seagate is essential to eventually lowering costs and reducing the complexity of storage systems.” said Hyunjun Park, founder and chief executive officer of Catalog