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smh · 5 months ago [-]

I was very interested in this subject a while back, enough to do a summer research project on (https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/108831). The benefit of having an extended alphabet would differ based on the encoding scheme. For instance, my research was focused on the DNA Fountain algorithm (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/355/6328/950), which mapped every nucleotide to 2 bits. With 8 nucleotides, we could increase this to 3 bits. I remember reading about some encoding schemes that didn’t have a strict 1 nucleotide to sequence of bits conversion, and the benefits for these schemes would be different.


If I recall correctly, P and Z nucleotides (which I used in my research, and is also part of the hachimoji DNA) had lower PCR fidelity rates than natural nucleotides. This could mean that to store the same amount of data, more copies of DNA would be necessary to counterbalance more errors being introduced by biological processes, which diminishes the benefit outlined above.