Metastable hybridization-based DNA information storage to allow rapid and permanent erasure
Kim, Jangwon; Bae, Jin H.; Baym, Michael; Zhang, David Yu
The potential of DNA as an information storage medium is rapidly growing due to advances in DNA synthesis and sequencing. However, the chemical stability of DNA challenges the complete erasure of information encoded in DNA sequences. Here, we encode information in a DNA information solution, a mixture of true message- and false message-encoded oligonucleotides, and enables rapid and permanent erasure of information. True messages are differentiated by their hybridization to a "truth marker” oligonucleotide, and only true messages can be read; binding of the truth marker can be effectively randomized even with a brief exposure to the elevated temperature. We show 8 separate bitmap images can be stably encoded and read after storage at 25 °C for 65 days with an average of over 99% correct information recall, which extrapolates to a half-life of over 15 years at 25 °C. Heating to 95 °C for 5 minutes, however, permanently erases the message.