Novel Modalities in DNA Data Storage

Trends Biotechnol. 2021 Oct;39(10):990-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2020.12.008. Epub 2021 Jan 14.


The field of storing information in DNA has expanded exponentially. Most common modalities involve encoding information from bits into synthesized nucleotides, storage in liquid or dry media, and decoding via sequencing. However, limitations to this paradigm include the cost of DNA synthesis and sequencing, along with low throughput. Further unresolved questions include the appropriate media of storage and the scalability of such approaches for commercial viability. In this review, we examine various storage modalities involving the use of DNA from a systems-level perspective. We compare novel methods that draw inspiration from molecular biology techniques that have been devised to overcome the difficulties posed by standard workflows and conceptualize potential applications that can arise from these advances.

Keywords: DNA computing; DNA data storage; DNA synthesis; molecular information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA* / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Information Storage and Retrieval*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA