Nature: A team from Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities is developing an efficient method of data storage that uses DNA. Although the idea is not new—the technique was first demonstrated in 1988—the researchers have vastly improved the density of information that can be stored. So far, they have managed to encode the HTML version of a forthcoming 5-megabit book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves (Basic Books, in press), including both text and jpeg images. “In theory, two bits of data can be incorporated per nucleotide—the single base unit of a DNA string—so each gram of the double-stranded molecule could store 455 exabytes of data (1 exabyte is 1018 bytes),” writes Monya Baker for Nature. Thus the method could far surpass inorganic data-storage devices such as flash memory and hard disks. Because DNA storage and retrieval are still extremely labor-intensive, it will work best for long-term storage, possibly as long as centuries.