Ewan Birney talks to Jim Al-Khalili about deciphering the human genome, recent controversy over the demise of 'junk' DNA, and whether the future of digital storage lies in our DNA.
Ewan Birney talks to Jim Al-Khalili about his work on deciphering the human genome and the race to come up with the right number of genes that make us human. Ewan explains why he started a sweepstake to get fellow scientists to estimate the final number and why numbers were wildly wrong. He explains his role in the recent controversy over claims about the demise of 'Junk' DNA. He also talks about artificial DNA and whether it could be the future for information storage? With a colleague, he has already used a small speck of artificial DNA to store Shakespeare's sonnets. In theory, all of the world's information could be held on DNA in a space the size of a small room. If kept cold, dry and dark, DNA lasts for thousands of years so could it be the archive medium of the future?