Journal article Open Access

Emerging Approaches to DNA Data Storage: Challenges and Prospects

Doricchi A.; Platnich C. M.; Gimpel A.; Horn F.; Earle M.; Lanzavecchia G.; Cortajaren A. L.; Liz-Marzan L.; Liu N.; Heckel R.; Grass R. N.; Krahne R.; Keyser U.; Garoli D.

With the total amount of worldwide data
skyrocketing, the global data storage demand is predicted to
grow to 1.75 × 1014 GB by 2025. Traditional storage methods
have difficulties keeping pace given that current storage media
have a maximum density of 103 GB/mm3. As such, data
production will far exceed the capacity of currently available
storage methods. The costs of maintaining and transferring
data, as well as the limited lifespans and significant data losses
associated with current technologies also demand advanced
solutions for information storage. Nature offers a powerful
alternative through the storage of information that defines
living organisms in unique orders of four bases (A, T, C, G)
located in molecules called deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA
molecules as information carriers have many advantages over traditional storage media. Their high storage density, potentially
low maintenance cost, ease of synthesis, and chemical modification make them an ideal alternative for information storage. To
this end, rapid progress has been made over the past decade by exploiting user-defined DNA materials to encode information.
In this review, we discuss the most recent advances of DNA-based data storage with a major focus on the challenges that
remain in this promising field, including the current intrinsic low speed in data writing and reading and the high cost per byte
stored. Alternatively, data storage relying on DNA nanostructures (as opposed to DNA sequence) as well as on other
combinations of nanomaterials and biomolecules are proposed with promising technological and economic advantages. In
summarizing the advances that have been made and underlining the challenges that remain, we provide a roadmap for the
ongoing research in this rapidly growing field, which will enable the development of technological solutions to the global
demand for superior storage methodologies.

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