An Epigenetics-Inspired DNA-Based Data Storage System

Clemens Mayer, Gordon R. McInroy, Pierre Murat, Pieter Van Delft, Shankar Balasubramanian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Biopolymers are an attractive alternative to store and circulate information. DNA, for example, combines remarkable longevity with high data storage densities and has been demonstrated as a means for preserving digital information. Inspired by the dynamic, biological regulation of (epi)genetic information, we herein present how binary data can undergo controlled changes when encoded in synthetic DNA strands. By exploiting differential kinetics of hydrolytic deamination reactions of cytosine and its naturally occurring derivatives, we demonstrate how multiple layers of information can be stored in a single DNA template. Moreover, we show that controlled redox reactions allow for interconversion of these DNA-encoded layers of information. Overall, such interlacing of multiple messages on synthetic DNA libraries showcases the potential of chemical reactions to manipulate digital information on (bio)polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11144-11148
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - 5-Sept-2016
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • epigenetics
  • information storage
  • sequencing
  • supramolecular chemistry

Cite this