The company’s DNA-on-chip platform uses individually controlled ‘virtual wells’ to enable either de-novo DNA synthesis or immobilisation of pre-synthesised DNA for storage in-situ
Evonetix, a synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for high-fidelity synthesis, has been granted a patent for its method for DNA data storage and retrieval.
DNA offers potential as a long-term data storage media, owing to the information density it can achieve in comparison with tape-based storage. However, its use as a storage medium has reportedly been limited by challenges associated with its writing, storage, access and reading which create costs that negate the benefits offered in storage density. Evonetix says its approach enables non-destructive data retrieval from its chip surfaces, overcoming one of the major challenges of using DNA for data storage.
The company’s DNA-on-chip platform uses individually controlled ‘virtual wells’ to enable either de-novo DNA synthesis or immobilisation of pre-synthesised DNA for storage in-situ until data retrieval is required. Individual sequences can then be read through thermal cycling of the virtual wells, first to melt DNA stored there and then to enable polymerase-based amplification of the single stranded DNA remaining on the site.
Each well can retain tens of millions of DNA strands, the company says, with sub-populations individually read through use of different amplification primers. The amplified DNA is released into solution for collection and downstream sequencing while a final primer extension step restores the DNA to its original double stranded format for ongoing storage. In this way, the company claims, it can enable high density storage with a simple, non-destructive, read method.
Dr Matt Hayes, CTO at Evonetix, said: “With DNA data storage forecast to grow rapidly in the next decade, and an increasing move towards digitisation, this patent is a major milestone for Evonetix. Accurate DNA synthesis has a multitude of applications, and we’re extremely pleased to enable data storage solutions in addition to our core focus on synthetic biology. Our growing patent portfolio underlines our strategy to create shareholder value, ensuring that we have freedom to operate in key markets.”