Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins

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Intelligent Design, the best explanation of Origins » Intelligent Design » Information Theory, Coded Information in the cell » The amazing DNA information storage capacity

The amazing DNA information storage capacity

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1The amazing DNA information storage capacity Empty The amazing DNA information storage capacity on Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:31 pm


The amazing DNA information storage capacity

The evidence of DNA storage
1. In the scientific magazine ‘Nature,’ in January 2013, Nick Goldman et al. reported a successful use of DNA to store large amounts of data.
2. “Here we describe a scalable method that can reliably store more information than has been handled before. We encoded computer files totaling 739 kilobytes of hard-disk storage and with an estimated Shannon information of 5.2× 10^6 bits into a DNA code, synthesized this DNA, sequenced it and reconstructed the original files with 100% accuracy. Theoretical analysis indicates that our DNA-based storage scheme could be scaled far beyond current global information volumes and offers a realistic technology for large-scale, long-term and infrequently accessed digital archiving. In fact, current trends in technological advances are reducing DNA synthesis costs at a pace that should make our scheme cost-effective for sub-50-year archiving within a decade.”
3. "DNA-based storage has potential as a practical solution to the digital archiving problem and may become a cost-effective solution for rarely accessed archives," said Goldman.
4. DNA far surpasses any current manmade technology and can last for thousands of years. To get a handle on this, consider that 1 petabyte is equivalent to 1 million gigabytes of information storage. This paper reports an information storage density of 2.2 petabytes per gram.
5. Scientists needed many decades to find out such an incredibly useful design of the DNA made, as they say, by nature. The discovery of the complex design of the DNA needed intelligence. How one can deny a superior intelligence that designed hundreds of different DNA’s, necessary for the survival of all the species.
6. That intelligence of nature is actually the intelligence of God since intelligence is only a property of a person.
7. Thus God inevitably exists.

Perry Marshall, Evolution 2.0, page 192
Ultra-High-Density Data Storage and Compression 
Your cells contain at least 92 strands of DNA and 46 double-helical chromosomes. In total, they stretch 6 feet (1.8 meters) end to end. Every human DNA strand contains as much data as a CD. Every DNA strand in your body stretched end to end would reach from Earth to the sun and back 600 times. When you scratch your arm, the dead skin cells that flake off contain more information than a warehouse of hard drives. Cells store data at millions of times more density than hard drives, 1021 bits per gram . Not only that, they use that data to store instructions vastly more effectively than human-made programs; consider that Windows takes 20 times as much space (bits) as your own genome. We don’t quite know how to quantify the total information in DNA. The genome is unfathomably more elegant, more sophisticated, and more efficient in its use of data than anything we have ever designed. Even with the breathtaking pace of Moore’s Law—the principle that data density doubles every two years and its cost is cut in half—it’s hard to estimate how many centuries it may take for human technology to catch up. Hopefully the lessons we learn from DNA can speed our efforts. A single gene can be used a hundred times by different aspects of the genetic program, expressed in a hundred different ways (248). The same program provides unique instructions to the several hundred different types of cells in the human body; it dictates their relationships to each other in three-dimensional space to make organs, as well as in a fourth dimension, the timeline of growth and development. It knows, for instance, that boys’ voices need to change when they’re 13 and not when they’re 3. It’s far from clear how this information is stored and where it all resides. Confining our understanding of DNA data to computer models is itself a limiting paradigm. This is all the more reason why our standard for excellence ought to be the cell and not our own technology:

• DNA is a programming language, a database, a communications protocol, and a highly compressed
storage device for reading and writing data—all at the same time.
• As a programming language it’s more versatile than C, Visual Basic, or PHP.
• As a database it’s denser than Oracle or MySQL.
• As a communications protocol it wastes far less space than TCP/IP and it’s more robust than
• As a compression algorithm it’s superior to WinZip or anything else we’ve dreamed of.
• As a storage medium it’s a trillion times denser than a CD, and packs information into less space
than any hard drive or memory chip currently made.
• And even the smallest bacterium is capable of employing all these mechanisms to dominate its
environment and live in community with other cells.

Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, pp. 116–117.... 
there is enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over. ... There is enough storage capacity in the DNA of a single lily seed or a single salamander sperm to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica 60 times over. Some species of the unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclopaedia Britannicas.

Why is DNA (and not RNA) a stable storage form for genetic information?

Dazzling design in miniature: DNA information storage, by Werner Gitt

The cells of the human body can produce at least 100,000 different types of proteins, all with a unique function. The information to make each of these complicated molecular machines is stored on the well-known molecule, DNA.
We think that we have done very well with human technology, packing information very densely on to computer hard drives, chips and CD-ROM disks. However, these all store information on the surface, whereas DNA stores it in three dimensions. It is by far the densest information storage mechanism known in the universe.
Let's look at the amount of information that could be contained in a pinhead volume of DNA. If all this information were written into paperback books, it would make a pile of such books 500 times higher than from here to the moon! The design of such an incredible system of information storage indicates a vastly intelligent Designer.
In addition, there is the information itself, which is stored on DNA, and transmitted from generation to generation of living things. There are no laws of science that support the idea that life, with all its information, could have come from non-living chemicals. On the contrary, we know from the laws of science, particularly in my own area of expertise, that messages (such as those that we find in all living things) always point back to an intelligent message sender. When we look at living things in the light of DNA, Genesis creation makes real sense of the scientific evidence.

90GB of data stored in 1g of bacteria. 
DECEMBER 13, 2010
While current electronic data storage methods approach their limits in density, the team achieved unprecedented results with a colony of E.coli. Their technique allows the equivalent of the United States Declaration of Independence to be stored in the DNA of eighteen bacterial cells. Given there are approximately ten million cells in one gram of biological material, the potential for data storage is huge. Furthermore, data can be encrypted using the natural process of site specific genetic recombination: information is scrambled by recombinase genes, whose actions are controlled by a transcription factor. 1

‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-89………

The 10^12 bits of information number for a bacterium is derived from entropic considerations, which is, due to the tightly integrated relationship between information and entropy, considered the most accurate measure of the transcendent information present in a ‘simple’ life form. For calculations please see the following site:
Molecular Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy 2

The greatest known density of information is that in the DNA of living cells. The diameter of this chemical storage medium is d = 2 nm, and the spiral increment of the helix is 3.4 nm (1 nm = 10-9 m = 10-6 mm). The volume of this cylinder is V = h • d2 • π/4:

V = 3.4 • 10-6 mm • (2 • 10-6 mm)2 • π/4 = 10.68 • 10-18 mm3 per winding.
There are 10 chemical letters (nucleotides) in each winding of the double spiral (= 0.34 • 10-9 m/letter), giving a statistical information density of:
r = 10 letters/(10.68 • 10-18 mm3) = 0.94 • 1018 letters per mm3.
This packing density is so inconceivably great that we need illustrative comparisons.
First: What is the amount of information contained in a pinhead of DNA? How many paperback books can be stored in this volume?
Example: The paperback Did God Use Evolution? has the following dates:
Thickness = 12 mm, 160 pages, LB = 250,000 letters/book
Volume of a pinhead of 2 mm diameter (r = 1 mm):
VP = 4/3 πr3 = 4.19 mm3
How many letters can be stored in the volume of 1 pinhead?
LP = VP • r = 4.19 mm3 • (0.94• 1018 letters/mm3) = 3.94 • 1018 letters
How many books can be stored in the volume of 1 pinhead?
n = LP/LB = 3.94 • 1018 letters /(250,000 letters/book) = 15.76 • 1012 books
What is the height of the pile of books?
h = 15.76 • 1012 books • 12 mm/book = 189.1 • 1012 mm = 189.1 • 106 km
Distance to the moon M = 384,000 km
How many times the distance to the moon is this?
m = h/M = 189.1 • 106 km /384,000 km = 492.5 times
Secondly: The human genome has 3 • 109 letters (nucleotides). In body cells there are 6 • 109 letters.
The length of the genome LG is given by
LG = (0.34 • 10-9 m/letter) • 3 • 109 letters = 1.02 m
The vlume of the human genome VG is
VG = LG/r = 3 • 109 letters/(0.94 • 1018 letters/mm3) = 3.19 • 10-9 mm3
Volume of a pinhead of 2 mm diameter: V = 4/3 πr3 = 4.19 mm3
How many human genomes could be contained in 1 pinhead?
k = 4.19 mm3 / (3.19 • 10-9 mm3) = 1.313 • 109 times

These are the genomes of more than thousand million people or one fifth of the population of the world.

Thirdly: A huge storage density is achieved, manifold greater than can be attained by the modern computers. To grasp the storage density of this material, we can imagine taking the material from the head of a pin with a diameter of 2 mm and stretching it out into a wire, which has the same diameter as a DNA molecule. How long would this wire be?

Diameter of the DNA molecule d = 2 nm = 2 • 10-6 mm (radius r = 10-6 mm)

Cross-section A of the DNA molecule:

A = r2 π= (1 nm)2 π= (10-6 mm)2 π= 3.14 • 10-12 mm2

Length of the wire LW = Volume of the pinhead VP / Cross-section A

LW = VP/A = 4.19 mm3 / (3.14 • 10-12 mm2) = 1.33 • 1012 mm = 1.33 • 106 km

Length of the equator = 40,000 km

k = 1.334 • 106 km/ 40,000 km = 33.3 times

If we are stretching out the material of a pinhead into a wire with the same thin diameter as a DNA molecule it would have a length more than 30 times around the equator.

These comparisons illustrate in a breath-taking way the brilliant storage concepts we are dealing with here, as well as the economic use of material and miniaturisation. The highest known (statistical) information density is obtained in living cells, exceeding by far the best achievements of highly integrated storage densities in computer systems.


DNA: The Ultimate Hard Drive

Last edited by Admin on Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:39 pm; edited 5 times in total


Backup files
In view of these insightful questions, let’s dwell for a moment on the extreme importance of our DNA. Whether we realize it or not, we are its caretakers, but if we had to actively perform all the protection and maintenance of it we’d be sunk. Do you have extra car keys? Where did you put those come to think of it? How about your wallet or purse? Uh…Good for us there are built in features for preserving our DNA. It’s wonderful that its care is mostly on “auto pilot”, though if we do stupid stuff like volunteer to shovel up nuclear waste then we only have ourselves to blame! In a similar fashion, we certainly value data, whether we think much about it or not, and live in a society that is heavily information dependent. Millions of jobs are either directly or indirectly related to the “tech sector”, and we rely on our gadgets to get by in life. From the laptop I’m typing on, to the electronic banking and cell phones we use every day, data is super important. That’s why everyone is so up in arms about that 17-year-old whiz kid hacker in Russia that just stole everyone’s credit card numbers! I don’t type for long without pressing “control s” for fear that my progress will be lost, and I’m planning on getting this on an external flash drive ASAP in case my hard drive crashes! So, how are the “data files”/encoded information in DNA backed up?
Remember the fact that it’s a double helix for protection sake? Well, it’s also constructed that way as a method to back up the files! DNA is essentially a mirror image molecule, with the two sides of the ladder being identical but upside down relative to each other. The technical term for this phenomenon is that the 3’ (three prime) and 5’ (five prime) ends face opposite directions. So, when the cell needs to retrieve a “file” but it happens to be corrupt (I’m using computer lingo now, but you get the point), the information can be recovered by looking up or down stream and comparing the damaged section to the intact one. The double helix design physically protects the code, facilitates the elegant transcription/translation of itself, while providing for built in file backup AND recovery of damaged files! Whoa, that’s four birds with one stone. God is truly the original and master architect.

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