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I found a patent Methods of storing information using nucleic acids (link goes to Google Patents). After cursory reading it seems to me it describes the content of the scientific article Next-Generation Digital Information Storage in DNA published in journal Science. The supplementary materials which illustrate the procedure are available publicly.

They take a computer file, split it into chunks of 96 bits, replace zero bits with either A or C nucleotide and ones with either G or T. Then they prepend 19 nucleotides to encode the position of the fragment in the source file and finally a 22 bp sequences at the beginning and end to allow them to amplify the segments using PCR. This is all that is to the encoding scheme.

It seems to me too simple to be actually patentable. Is it?

Claim 1

  1. A method of storing information using nucleotides comprising

    converting a format of information into a plurality of bit sequences of a bit stream with each having a corresponding bit barcode,

    converting the plurality of bit sequences to a plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences using one bit per base encoding,

    synthesizing the plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences, and storing the synthesized plurality of corresponding oligonucleotide sequences.

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The European Patent Office issued a search report (http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/docservicepdf_pct/id00000023922733.pdf) on February 6, 2014 noting two prior WIPO publications (i.e., WO2004/088585 and WO2003/025123) as "X" references, i.e., documents of particular relevance. These are examples of the state of the art that George White is referring to...

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To be patentable something needs to be new and non-obvious compared to what came before it. The lead author of the article in Science is the inventor of this international application and the Science article was first published after the filing of the application. To see if the application is "sufficiently innovative" we need to compare its claims to the known state of the art on the day of filing.

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