Technicolor Turns Old Movie into Artificial DNA

May 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cutting-edge / ˈkʌt ɪŋ ɛdʒ/ (adj.) – the latest and most advanced in a field
Example: The company is known for using cutting-edge technology.

2. centenary / sɛnˈtɛn ə ri / (n.) – the 100th year of something
Example: The company’s centenary will be celebrated next year.

3. correspond / ˌkɔr əˈspɒnd / (v.) – to be the equivalent of something
Example: Each letter corresponds to a certain chemical.

4. archive / ˈɑr kaɪv / (n.) – the place where old files or documents are stored
Example: You can find many old movies in the university’s film archive.

5. obsolete / ˌɒb səˈlit / (adj.) – no longer in use because it is already replaced by a newer version
Example: The obsolete machines were already discarded.


Read the text below.
Multimedia company Technicolor has successfully stored a million copies of an old movie in a bullet-sized vial [VAHY-uhl] by turning it into artificial DNA.

The company, known for its cutting-edge technology, proudly presented its latest contribution to the film industry: encoding films into artificial, non-biological DNA. During Technicolor’s centenary, the company’s vice president Jean Bolot presented a vial containing a million copies of the 1902 French film A Trip to the Moon in artificial DNA form at Technicolor’s Sunset Boulevard Studio.

Scientists from Technicolor encoded the movie into artificial DNA by replicating natural DNA in a laboratory dish. They first turned the movie into a binary code, a series of ones and zeroes. Then, they turned the binary code into DNA code, which includes letters that correspond to DNA molecules. Finally, the scientists turned this code into artificial DNA molecules. The process took six weeks and cost thousands of dollars to complete.

According to Bolot, turning movie data into DNA may be the future of archiving. Storing data as DNA has many advantages. First of all, it minimizes the space taken up by files. Bolot said that by using DNA, movie archives that originally take up square kilometers of space can fit into the size of a single Lego brick. Second, data stored in DNA are safe from being damaged and can last thousands of years if stored properly.

Lastly, DNA will never become obsolete, unlike other ways of storage such as CDs and DVDs. This is because the data can always be translated into other forms and recovered through a computer whenever needed.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Based on what you found out from the article, do you think that encoding data into artificial DNA is a good idea? Why or why not?
·         Would you like this way of storage to be widely used? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of archiving data?
·         What kind of data or files should people archive? Why?

May 25, 2016