Elon Musk considers how to put all of humanity's DNA into storage

Elon Musk has weighed in on creating complete human reference DNA sequence genomes and putting them into a storage system.

Published Thu, May 26 2022 2:33 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jun 16 2022 2:05 AM CDT

It has been some 20 years since scientists created the first complete reference human genome that contained approximately 3 billion DNA letters, but now some improvements are being suggested.

The first complete reference human genome has been added to over the years, with approximately two million additional variations of the code being included in the model. Now, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been discussing how that model could be placed into a storage system, but on a far larger scale. Musk replied to a tweet that provided a graph on the size of a human genome in data, which stated the human genome is 3.3 Gb in size, the HIV virus is only 9.7 kb, and the largest known vertebrate genome is 130 Gb.

Antonio Regalado, the senior editor for biomedicine for MIT Technology Review, pointed out that the storage for a human genome DNA sequence is "more like 100 gigabytes" due to the extra information from sequencing. Furthermore, Musk went on to speculate that with a "lossless compression delta" and having "a few reference human genomes", one could "probably fit the DNA sequences of all humans alive today in a fairly small data storage system."

While it certainly seems possible that all of humanity's DNA sequences could fit into some kind of storage system, the question isn't if we can do it, but should we? Would the storage of everyone's DNA be used for "good"?

Elon Musk considers how to put all of humanity's DNA into storage 01 | TweakTown.com
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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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