Biocomputing and Bioencryption


Binary code is so January 11th, 2011. Current advances in biotech are pushing us deeper into the age of bio-based computing and data encryption. Leonard Adelman, a professor of computer science and molecular biology at the University of Southern California, created the first DNA computational system in 1994. His experiments allowed him to solve heavy combinatorics problems, albeit at a slower pace than current capabilities. Since then, a team of undergraduates at the Chinese University of Hong Kong made tremendous progress by developing a practical model to store data in living bacteria. This type of biological data system will allow you to store 4500 gigabytes of data in a biodrive no heavier than a nickel (5 grams).

How does it work? We already know that DNA stores information for most living organisms.¬†Our current electricity-based computing systems store and process info by setting two commands: on and off (translated to ones and zeros in binary code). Combinations of these ones and zeros are then made to represent text, instructions, etc. DNA, on the other hand, can be sequenced in parallel structures using combinations of each nucleotide: A, T, C, and G. By introducing new layers to our binary system, this process compresses the amount of bits needed for each combination. Thus allowing you store information in less space. There is even a method, DNA steganography, to encrypt information within DNA itself. The implications of this technology not only excite one’s imagination of the future, but also call into question our current theories between Natural Selection and Intelligent Design. Mankind as we know it just may be programs in a well thought out Matrix. However, using advanced math and science, we are just now beginning to hack the code. One thing is for sure, the forward-march to biocomputing will give new meaning to computer viruses.