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  1. “If DNA data storage ever does go mainstream, you might have Marlon Brando to thank. Or at least, Olgica Milenkovic’s admiration for him.

    Dr. Milenkovic, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of the pioneers of the effort to store data on DNA. Her first paper, in 2015, used IDT’s gBlocks Gene Fragments to demonstrate random access and information rewriting on a DNA-based storage system. Her second used gBlocks and an Oxford Nanopore Sequencer 7.0 to encode text-oriented files from Wikipedia, then extended that to images.

    Brando made DNA storage history with Milenkovic’s third paper. In that study, her team used oPools to encode eight Brando images in a more cost-effective approach to storage.

    “I was very biased,” she said of the decision to use Brando. “I always loved his movies.”