DNA Data Storage: A Solution Looking for a Problem?

Many moons ago, famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen described the term “product-market fit” as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” To prove that you have product-market fit, just sell a meaningful amount of your product and service to end customers – no subsidies, no free trials counted as revenues, no grants, and no related party revenues. Whenever an exciting new technology promises the moon, we always want to see product-market fit before investing. We don’t invest in stories, we invest in traction. That’s why when Twist Biosciences (TWST) promises their investors that DNA data storage is around the corner, we wanted to take a closer look at the thesis.

DNA Data Storage Explained

All data is made up of 1s and 0s. All DNA is made up of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs. Put that way, it would make sense that if the 1s and 0s can be converted to ATCGs, then data could be stored on strands of DNA. So, is it possible? Yes. However, it’s not exactly that simple.

Infographic on "How data could be stored on DNA"
DNA Data Storage Flow Chart from Micron

To store data on DNA, the desired information first needs to be mapped onto the four nucleotides (the As, Ts, Cs, and Gs) of DNA. This is done using a DNA synthesizer. While this synthesizer might not help Paul McCartney create a

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