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Evonetix granted patent for DNA data storage and retrieval method

Evonetix, the synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, has been granted patent GB 2576304 for its novel method for DNA data storage and retrieval.

DNA has significant potential as a long-term data storage media due to the information density that it can achieve in comparison with tape-based storage. However, the use of DNA as a storage medium is hampered by complexities associated with its writing, storage, access and reading. These challenges create difficulty and costs that negate the benefits offered in storage density. Evonetix’s approach enables non-destructive data retrieval from its chip surfaces, overcoming one of the major challenges of using DNA for data storage.

Evonetix’s novel, DNA-on-chip platform uses tens of thousands of 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 individual 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 virtual well can retain tens of millions of DNA strands, with sub-populations individually “read” through use of different amplification primers. 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, high density storage with a simple, nondestructive, read method is enabled.

Dr Matt Hayes, Chief Technology Officer 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.”