File - This Wednesday, April 24, 2002 photo shows a gel image of the DNA of 96 horses displayed on a computer monitor at the UC Davis veterinary genetics lab in Davis, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
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Into this world comes the notion of DNA storage.That information is stored in strings of what's often called the four-letter DNA code. That really refers to sequences of four building blocks – abbreviated as A, C, T and G – found in the DNA molecule. Converting digital information to DNA involves translating between the two codes.Scientists can recover and read DNA sequences from fossils of Neanderthals and even older life forms.Advocates also stress that DNA crams information into very little space. Getting the information into DNA takes some doing. Once scientists have converted the digital code into the 4-letter DNA code, they have to custom-make DNA. For some recent research Strauss and Ceze worked on, that involved creating about 10 million short strings of DNA.A standard lab machine can then reveal the sequence of DNA letters in each string.Cochrane, who describes his job as keeping information accessible "10 years to forever," says DNA looks interesting if its cost can be reduced and scientists find ways to more quickly store and recover information.
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