Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a process designed to encrypt and store sensitive data into a synthetic DNA.
Bioengineers George and Marlene Bachand at Sandia Labs used a computer algorithm to encode a summarized version of a letter by U.S. President Harry Truman into a chemically synthesized DNA spotted onto a Sandia Labs letterhead that was mailed across the country, Sandia Labs said July 11.
The scientists said they extracted and sequenced the DNA from the 700-character letter and used the same computer algorithm to decrypt the content within 24 hours for approximately $45.
“We are taking advantage of a biological component, DNA, and using its unique ability to encode huge amounts of data in an extremely small volume to develop DNA constructs that can be used to transmit and store vast amounts of encrypted data for security purposes,” said Marlene Bachand.
Sandia Labs funded the project through its Laboratory Directed Research & Development program.
The bioengineers plan to use the DNA-based data storage method to store historical classified information as well as apply watermarks on computer chips and other electromechanical components.
Sandia Corp., a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, runs the lab for the Energy Department.