on her last letter.
The frontiers of science are being explored with the aid of one of the National Library of Scotland's most treasured collection items.
A team of young scientists from the University of Edinburgh are testing a new way of storing data with DNA. They will use the text of Mary Queen of Scots' last letter — written just hours before she was executed in 1587.
Scientists believe DNA — the basic building block of life — can be the answer to the world's data storage problems. It involves written text being converted into short molecular sequences that, in theory, can be stored safely for centuries at much lower cost than conventional methods.
The Library is supporting the research by supplying the basic text of the letter to see if it can be coded, stored and then retrieved by the scientific team.
DNA as a storage medium has already attracted the interest of the software giant Microsoft. The Edinburgh University team will present their research at an international competition in Boston in October.
See also our DNA storage press release.
10 August 2016