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Smaller, For Synthesis and Storage

The San Francisco Chronicle writes that Twist Bioscience aims to bring together the two Bay Area skills of biotech and computers to develop synthetic DNA.

The company, it adds, is working to shrink DNA synthesis to require ever-smaller volumes, akin to silicon technology. "What happened over the years in making transistors from silicon, we're doing the same thing with DNA," Emily Leproust, the CEO of Twist, tells the Chronicle.

With its smaller approach, Twist says it can synthesize DNA for its customers 100-times faster than other methods. Its customers include pharmaceutical companies, academic research institutes, and government health agencies, the Chronicle adds, noting that Leproust says its revenue grew by 380 percent in 2017, as compared to 2016. (Leproust's former employer, Agilent Technologies, has sued Twistalleging theft of intellectual property, which Twist denies.)

At the same time, the company's synthetic genomic approach could be used as a data storage device, the Chronicle says. It adds that the company partnered with Microsoft and the University of Washington researchers to encode and store two songs in DNA. However, the Chronicle notes that such data storage is currently out of reach for most people, as it cost thousands of dollars to convert those two songs.