Read More: ScienceAlert
If we used DNA like we use magnetic tape to store data today, it's theoretically possible to store all of the information humans have ever recorded in a space roughly the size of a double garage. Sharing their goals with MIT Technology Review this week, Microsoft Research computer architects say they want to start storing their data on strands of DNA within the next few years, and expect to have an operational storage system using DNA within a data centre by the end of the decade. As antiquated as it seems, one of the best ways to store a lot of information in a small space right now is good, old-fashioned magnetic tape - not only is it cheap, it's rugged enough to hold information for up to 30 years, and can hold as much as a terabyte of data per roll. But when we consider more data has been generated in just the past two years than in all of human history, it seems even magnetic tape might not cut it in the next few decades. A biological material such as DNA might appear to be an odd choice for backing up large amounts of digital information, yet its ability to pack enormous amounts of data in a tiny space has been clear for more than 70 years.