It turns out DNA is the best storage medium there is on Earth. Nothing beats it. Think about it, all the directions that make you up are stored on tiny proteins that are hard to see even with a microscope. The human genome (all of those directions controlling your eye color, hair color, height, skin) contains between 25,000 and 30,000 genes. That’s a ton of information compressed down into these microscopic structures.
Let’s put into perspective just how much data DNA can hold?
Consider this fact: one gram of DNA can hold the same amount of information as 14,000 Blu-ray discs! (One gram is about how much a paperclip weighs!)
What’s even more incredible is how long information in DNA can be saved. In 2008, Scientists discovered a human femur bone washed up alongside a river in Siberia. Six years later, that bone was finally analyzed to learn how old it actually was. Turns out it came from a man who lived and died over 45,000 years earlier. The actual DNA, still preserved in that fossil, confirmed his age.
So DNA is a material that can hold mind boggling amounts of data for ridiculously long periods of time.
Now think about your own DNA with the thousands of genes it contains, all of which combined make up who you are.
But DNA is not just useful as you develop, it can actually be decoded to learn about who you are. There are genetic tests for genealogy and ancestry and others that can help you uncover your body’s natural strengths when it comes to fitness.
Science is still decoding the complex workings of how all those proteins interact with each other, so it’s fair to say there’s much more to your code than anyone yet realizes.
However, DNA is also reactive to the environment around it and can degrade over time. All these minor environmental chinks in your genetic armor could, over time, affect your health. This is why it is important to secure and store your DNA, just like the data you would keep safe on a hard drive.
Getting a sample of your DNA stored as early possible means it will be in its purest form and may be more useful for medical advances in the years to come.
By understanding that DNA is nature’s best possible hard drive, scientists are now working hard to transform it into the hard drive for our future.