The challenge

Current technologies for long term data storage do not provide a sustainable way to store the increasing amount of data generated in the world therefore new approaches need to be developed. One of the candidates for alternative data storage medium holding a lot of promise is DNA as, if the technology gets fully realized, it offers several advantages: high storage density, exceptional stability on long timescales, existing technological infrastructure for production and decoding and low maintenance costs for storage. However, DNA-based information storage technologies in their current form mostly provide cold-storage solutions with limited real-life applicability. For this technology to become an alternative to existing digital storage solutions these fundamental limitations must be addressed to allow the stable storage of information in DNA with the means to repeatedly access and manipulate parts of the stored data.

The project

The Dura-store project, as part of the EIC Pathfinder Challenge: DNA-based digital data storage, will focus on addressing the previously mentioned obstacles using bio-inspired solutions to improve existing DNA data storage technologies in terms of data stability and dynamic data operability in vitro and in vivo. The developed technologies aim to move DNA data storage solutions capabilities in all aspects towards that of digital data storage and thus will improve their commercial competitiveness and adaptability.

The project has three main goals:

  • To create a proof-of-concept solid-state data storage device that permits isothermal data-operation reactions utilizing nucleic acid guided enzymatic reactions, which will eliminate the need for temperature cycling and through this increasing the lifetime of the stored material while decreasing the costs of data operations. The system is designed to be modular in the sense that it is aimed to be compatible with different DNA synthesis and sequencing approaches to create end-to-end data storage solutions.
  • To implement elements of the in vitro system in bacteria to create in vivo data storage solution that is capable of dynamic data operations and random data access by utilization of bacteriophages as input. This storage system, while being proof-of-concept, will go well beyond the capability of current in vivo solutions in data operability.
  • To create a universally applicable strategy for stabilization of DNA for in vitro and in vivo storage systems using biomolecules derived from extremophile organisms that will provide protection on par with inorganic approaches while being more easily reversable as well as implementable in in vivo storage solutions.