Microsoft and researchers at the University of Washington are conducting research on biological storage recently, hoping to meet the increasing demand for storage through biological DNA. At present, the storage potential of DNA is also being continuously developed and tapped. Is the so-called “biological storage” expected to replace semiconductors as the basis of the computer industry in the future?
With the continuous development of computer technology, semiconductor related technologies and industries are also constantly improving. At present, the semiconductor industry in the world has basically formed a complete global ecological chain, which is basically controlled by the United States, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. From Bell Labs to today’s semiconductor pattern, it is true that the transformation and development of the semiconductor industry have not stopped for decades. However, with the increasing demand for hardware by intelligent devices and the storage demand of various artificial intelligence products and big data, the development speed of semiconductors has met the development speed of the Internet.
In addition to its own development speed, the gradual failure of Moore’s law also gradually makes this situation more severe. In the early development of the semiconductor industry, Moore’s law is indeed constantly verified, but recently, the development speed of the semiconductor industry has gradually slowed down, which may reach the bottleneck of development in the future. Biological storage may take over the task of computer storage and begin to change the Internet era.
By taking advantage of the complexity of biological molecules such as amino acids in DNA and their ability to support programmability, researchers have developed corresponding software, that is, the interpreter of DNA storage content. By transforming the binary codes of 0 and 1 in our computer language into a, G, C and t corresponding to the bases in DNA, it is equivalent to an interpreter of storage program. In this way, DNA molecules have the function similar to semiconductor transistors, As we all know, it is the basis of the development of computer technology.
How can I read the data if such an interpreter realizes the function of reading and interpretation? This is actually much simpler than developing corresponding algorithms and software, because the automatic editing and generation technology of DNA has long been mature and the cost is low, so it is not too difficult to read data. At present, from the theoretical level, 1g DNA molecules can store about 2 million TB of data. Compared with the size and capacity of the current hard disk, the storage efficiency of biomolecules is undoubtedly far beyond the current level.
However, at present, such storage mode is still in the stage of laboratory development. The manufacturing cost is very high, far from cost performance, and the practicability is basically zero. The deadline of the semiconductor industry has not really come. The development of biological semiconductor still needs the continuous development and cooperation of relevant industries and Science, so as to reduce the cost of the industrial chain, improve the relevant application scenarios and enter the homes of ordinary people. At that time, perhaps “one kilogram of DNA stores global information” will really become a reality.