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Applied Intelligent Design: Storing Information On DNA

A new paper has just been published in Nature, reporting on the successful use of DNA to store data including Shakespearean sonnets and an MP3 file. Reports the abstract,

Digital production, transmission and storage have revolutionized how we access and use information but have also made archiving an increasingly complex task that requires active, continuing maintenance of digital media. This challenge has focused some interest on DNA as an attractive target for information storage because of its capacity for high-density information encoding, longevity under easily achieved conditions and proven track record as an information bearer. Previous DNA-based information storage approaches have encoded only trivial amounts of information or were not amenable to scaling-up, and used no robust error-correction and lacked examination of their cost-efficiency for large-scale information archival. Here we describe a scalable method that can reliably store more information than has been handled before. We encoded computer files totalling 739 kilobytes of hard-disk storage and with an estimated Shannon information of 5.2 × 106 bits into a DNA code, synthesized this DNA, sequenced it and reconstructed the original files with 100% accuracy. Theoretical analysis indicates that our DNA-based storage scheme could be scaled far beyond current global information volumes and offers a realistic technology for large-scale, long-term and infrequently accessed digital archiving. In fact, current trends in technological advances are reducing DNA synthesis costs at a pace that should make our scheme cost-effective for sub-50-year archiving within a decade.

Truly, DNA is a remarkable information storage medium. Be sure to also read the Telegraph and Science Daily reports.

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17 Responses to Applied Intelligent Design: Storing Information On DNA

  1. This kind of work isn’t new, even if the researchers did store a more than has been done in the past, but it is good to see this work continuing.

    So now we have before all the world affirmative evidence that intelligent agents can store information in digital format in a biological molecule such as DNA.

    Will all the folks who have proclaimed loudly that inferring design in biology is not possible because “although we know humans can design certain things, we don’t have any examples of humans designing things in biology” now acknowledge that we do have examples and can therefore infer design in biology (at the very least, with respect to the storage of information on a DNA molecule)?

    Holding my breath . . .

  2. Notes:

    Information Storage in DNA by Wyss Institute – video
    https://vimeo.com/47615970

    Quote from preceding video:
    “The theoretical (information) density of DNA is you could store the total world information, which is 1.8 zetabytes, at least in 2011, in about 4 grams of DNA.”
    Sriram Kosuri PhD. – Wyss Institute

    DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive – Science Magazine, August-16-2012
    Excerpt: “When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare.”
    http://news.sciencemag.org/sci.....-code.html

    Introducing “Bi-Fi”: The Biological Internet – October 3, 2012
    Excerpt: They already achieved 5 petabits per cubic millimeter! That’s 1,000 terabits of data — nearly twice the entire volume of digital records at the Library of Congress1 — in a cube the size of the space between your thumb and forefinger when you hold them slightly apart.2
    There are more reasons they think DNA storage is the wave of the future: “DNA is particularly suitable for immutable, high-latency, sequential access applications such as archival storage. Density, stability, and energy efficiency are all potential advantages of DNA storage, although costs and times for writing and reading are currently impractical for all but century-scale archives. However, the costs of DNA synthesis and sequencing have been dropping at exponential rates of 5- and 12-fold per year, respectively–much faster than electronic media at 1.6-fold per year. Hand-held, single-molecule DNA sequencers are becoming available and would vastly simplify reading DNA-encoded information.”
    Hand-held? You mean your smartphone might read and write documents in DNA? Why not? Well, if DNA is the ideal storage medium, how about using it for the Internet? In fact, “Bi-Fi: The Biological Internet” is in development at Stanford School of Medicine. (links provided at site)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64781.html

  3. Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram – Sebastian Anthony – August 17, 2012
    Excerpt: A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times.,,, Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. In Church and Kosuri’s case, they have successfully stored around 700 kilobytes of data in DNA — Church’s latest book, in fact — and proceeded to make 70 billion copies (which they claim, jokingly, makes it the best-selling book of all time!) totaling 44 petabytes of data stored.
    http://www.extremetech.com/ext.....ingle-gram

  4. Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single (photon) qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.,,, As a wave, it passed through all parts of the stencil at once,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    Information In Photon – Robert W. Boyd – slides from presentation
    http://www.quantumphotonics.uo.....-InPho.pdf

    Information in a Photon – Robert W. Boyd – 2010
    Excerpt: By its conventional definition, a photon is one unit of excitation of a mode of the electromagnetic field. The modes of the electromagnetic field constitute a countably infinite set of basis functions, and in this sense the amount of information that can be impressed onto an individual photon is unlimited.
    http://www.pqeconference.com/p.....td/013.pdf

    Moreover DNA, (which is the best proven information storage medium known to man), is found to be communicating information with photons/phonons, (which is the best theoretical information storage medium) known to man

    The Real Bioinformatics Revolution – Proteins and Nucleic Acids ‘Singing’ to One Another?
    Excerpt: the molecules send out specific frequencies of electromagnetic waves which not only enable them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ each other, as both photon and phonon modes exist for electromagnetic waves, but also to influence each other at a distance and become ineluctably drawn to each other if vibrating out of phase (in a complementary way).,,, More than 1 000 proteins from over 30 functional groups have been analysed. Remarkably, the results showed that proteins with the same biological function share a single frequency peak while there is no significant peak in common for proteins with different functions; furthermore the characteristic peak frequency differs for different biological functions. ,,, The same results were obtained when regulatory DNA sequences were analysed.
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/TheRea.....lution.php

    Cellular Communication through Light
    Excerpt: Information transfer is a life principle. On a cellular level we generally assume that molecules are carriers of information, yet there is evidence for non-molecular information transfer due to endogenous coherent light. This light is ultra-weak, is emitted by many organisms, including humans and is conventionally described as biophoton emission.
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0005086

    Biophotons – The Light In Our Cells – Marco Bischof – March 2005
    Excerpt page 2: The Coherence of Biophotons: ,,, Biophotons consist of light with a high degree of order, in other words, biological laser light. Such light is very quiet and shows an extremely stable intensity, without the fluctuations normally observed in light. Because of their stable field strength, its waves can superimpose, and by virtue of this, interference effects become possible that do not occur in ordinary light. Because of the high degree of order, the biological laser light is able to generate and keep order and to transmit information in the organism.
    http://www.international-light.....hotons.pdf

    supplemental notes:

    Photonics
    Excerpt: Unlike electrons, the driving force behind electronics, photons do not require any copper wires or other barriers to keep them from interacting with one another crossing and mingling photons have no adverse interactions whatsoever, where clashing electronics results in signal confusion and noise.,,,
    Photonic systems greatly expand the amount of bandwidth available; photonic transmissions are measured in trillion hertz (terahertz), compared with less than 10 billion hertz (gigahertz) used to measure electronics.
    http://ecommerce.hostip.info/p.....onics.html

    Is DNA a quantum computer? Stuart Hameroff
    Excerpt: DNA could function as a quantum computers with superpositions of base pair dipoles acting as qubits. Entanglement among the qubits, necessary in quantum computation is accounted for through quantum coherence in the pi stack where the quantum information is shared,,,
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....puter1.htm

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    As should be obvious, all this is far, far, beyond what man has accomplished in quantum computation.

  5. Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single (photon) qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.,,, As a wave, it passed through all parts of the stencil at once,,,
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    Information In Photon – Robert W. Boyd – slides from presentation
    http://www.quantumphotonics.uo.....-InPho.pdf

    Information in a Photon – Robert W. Boyd – 2010
    Excerpt: By its conventional definition, a photon is one unit of excitation of a mode of the electromagnetic field. The modes of the electromagnetic field constitute a countably infinite set of basis functions, and in this sense the amount of information that can be impressed onto an individual photon is unlimited.
    http://www.pqeconference.com/p.....td/013.pdf

    Moreover DNA, (which is the best proven information storage medium known to man), is found to be communicating information with photons/phonons, (which is the best theoretical information storage medium) known to man

    The Real Bioinformatics Revolution – Proteins and Nucleic Acids ‘Singing’ to One Another?
    Excerpt: the molecules send out specific frequencies of electromagnetic waves which not only enable them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ each other, as both photon and phonon modes exist for electromagnetic waves, but also to influence each other at a distance and become ineluctably drawn to each other if vibrating out of phase (in a complementary way).,,, More than 1 000 proteins from over 30 functional groups have been analysed. Remarkably, the results showed that proteins with the same biological function share a single frequency peak while there is no significant peak in common for proteins with different functions; furthermore the characteristic peak frequency differs for different biological functions. ,,, The same results were obtained when regulatory DNA sequences were analysed.
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/TheRea.....lution.php

    Cellular Communication through Light
    Excerpt: Information transfer is a life principle. On a cellular level we generally assume that molecules are carriers of information, yet there is evidence for non-molecular information transfer due to endogenous coherent light. This light is ultra-weak, is emitted by many organisms, including humans and is conventionally described as biophoton emission.
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0005086

    Biophotons – The Light In Our Cells – Marco Bischof – March 2005
    Excerpt page 2: The Coherence of Biophotons: ,,, Biophotons consist of light with a high degree of order, in other words, biological laser light. Such light is very quiet and shows an extremely stable intensity, without the fluctuations normally observed in light. Because of their stable field strength, its waves can superimpose, and by virtue of this, interference effects become possible that do not occur in ordinary light. Because of the high degree of order, the biological laser light is able to generate and keep order and to transmit information in the organism.
    http://www.international-light.....hotons.pdf

  6. supplemental notes:

    Photonics
    Excerpt: Unlike electrons, the driving force behind electronics, photons do not require any copper wires or other barriers to keep them from interacting with one another crossing and mingling photons have no adverse interactions whatsoever, where clashing electronics results in signal confusion and noise.,,,
    Photonic systems greatly expand the amount of bandwidth available; photonic transmissions are measured in trillion hertz (terahertz), compared with less than 10 billion hertz (gigahertz) used to measure electronics.
    http://ecommerce.hostip.info/p.....onics.html

    Is DNA a quantum computer? Stuart Hameroff
    Excerpt: DNA could function as a quantum computers with superpositions of base pair dipoles acting as qubits. Entanglement among the qubits, necessary in quantum computation is accounted for through quantum coherence in the pi stack where the quantum information is shared,,,
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....puter1.htm

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    As should be obvious, all this is far, far, beyond what man has accomplished in quantum computation.

  7. Quote for today…

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’?

    And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?

    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.

    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”

    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

  8. Pardon, but there is a long-standing name for applied intelligent design: engineering.

  9. I hope they don’t get sued for making illegal copies!

  10. Of ‘serendipitous’ note:

    Never mind the noise: Quantum entanglement allows channel information rate to exceed Shannon zero-error capacity – January 23, 2013
    Excerpt: As developed by Claude Shannon, information theory defines channel capacity as the maximum rate at which information can be sent through the channel.,,,
    Recently, scientists studying asymptotic behavior in entangled sender-receiver quantum systems,, have identified families of graphs for which entanglement allows the Shannon capacity to be exceeded.,,,
    “The entanglement-assisted communication protocol we consider,” Briët adds, “dates back at least as far as the work of Charles Bennett and others in 2002.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-m.....annel.html

  11. 11

    It really is frustrating and angers me that FCSI has no other explanation but that of Intelligent Agency and that means mind over matter and yet this falsehood of methodological naturalism remains the official institutionalised secular version of the creation story.

  12. “methodological naturalism”

    Definition: The scientific discipline of denying you even have a mind to reason with in science.

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    C.S. Lewis, Reason, and Naturalism: An Interview with Dr. Jay Richards – audio
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201.....alism.html

    The Argument From Reason – resource page
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/t.....om-reason/

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    Alvin Plantinga – Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

  13. 13

    Their whole materialistic ideology and atheism is self refuting! Therefore this obviously n conclusively proves that this world view is demonstrably false.
    And the dyed in wool secular mascots of the likes of Dawkins call us deluded! Amazing oh.

  14. Here is a more detailed article from “The Economist”

    Storing information in DNA – Test-tube data – Jan 26th 2013
    http://www.economist.com/news/.....d-magnetic

  15. Joemorrale, wasn’t mind’s priority over matter an axiom of quantum physics from Max Planck’s day. He certainly saw no ambiguity about it.

    I too find it utterly baffling; but even more, why has no pope proclaimed it from the roof-tops yet? I mean the Catholic Church has a certain intellectual status in the world, and has always had some of the brightest intelligences in the Jesuit and Dominican orders, to name but two. Maybe Benedict will, in view of the insane power the idiot super-rich wield over mankind, to its increasing bane.

    So personal is this evidently-transcendent Creator-Mind – corroborated in the simplest of terms by light’s pursuit of the observer as its absolute speed, irrespective of the speed, which I’m always banging on about – that it has even been proved that each of us is, not in terms of egotism, but of physics, the centre of the physical universe. They don’t have a leg to stand on, in terms of physics.

    Still no word from Greg about the Shroud, I wonder why? Does he think it will pass unnoticed by the scientists here, who have no problem accepting the competence of the Shroud’s eminently-qualified, investigating scientists.

  16. Applied Intelligent Design: Storing Information on DNA – JonathanM – January 25, 2013
    Excerpt: One naturally wonders whether the clear intelligent design implications of this project crossed the minds of the paper’s authors. In terms of efficiency, DNA far surpasses any current manmade technology and can last for thousands of years. To get a handle on this, consider that 1 petabyte is equivalent to 1 million gigabytes of information storage. This paper reports an information storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68631.html

  17. Demonstrating, Once Again, the Fantastic Information-Storage Capacity of DNA – January 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Gigabytes have become commonplace, and now we’re warming up to terabytes. Ready for petabytes? That’s a thousand terabytes and a million gigabytes. It’s the new lingo that will migrate from geek to street, if DNA hard drives become a reality.,,,
    Last year, researchers led by bioengineers Sriram Kosuri and George Church of Harvard Medical School reported that they stored a copy of one of Church’s books in DNA, among other things, at a density of about 700 terabits per gram, more than six orders of magnitude more dense than conventional data storage on a computer hard disk. Now, researchers led by molecular biologists Nick Goldman and Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) in Hinxton, UK, report online today in Nature that they’ve improved the DNA encoding scheme to raise that storage density to a staggering 2.2 petabytes per gram, three times the previous effort.,,,
    This is truly a profound achievement of human intelligent design. Why wouldn’t the same be true of natural DNA? ,,,
    There’s far more information in our DNA than the UK team embedded in theirs — layers and layers of coding that regulate gene expression and respond interactively to signals in a vast network of complex feedback loops. It’s a whole system of information. To clinch the comparison, natural DNA also has elaborate error correction, proofreading and repair systems that can copy all that information with extremely high fidelity.
    As the Shakespearean sonnets in DNA point to intelligent design, the functional information in natural DNA points to intelligent design. It would be foolish to ascribe the superior information to blind, unguided processes.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68641.html

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