DNA Cryptography Research— A New Approach To Data Security Gains Momentum In India

As data volumes grow, so do concerns about data security. A slew of data security techniques, such as encryption of data at rest and in motion and data masking among others are being adopted to secure data. However, over the years, hackers are getting more sophisticated with data breaches leading to loss of sensitive information. This has led computer scientists and cyber security professionals to dig deeper into the world of human genes and DNA to introduce a secure data security method.

In this article, we will talk about DNA Cryptography — a method which fuses cryptography techniques with molecular biology. Researchers around the world now turning to DNA for its stellar capability to be the next storage centres of information.

Why DNA based Cryptography

After 2003, which marked the publication of the Human Genome Project (HGP), many studies explored DNA based approaches. DNA cryptography has now emerged as one of the most promising technologies that works on concepts of DNA computing. DNA can be used to store and transmit data and DNA computing, especially for cryptography can lead to breakthroughs in the form of ‘unbreakable algorithms’, a cyber security researcher noted.

Even though it was first envisioned by Leonard Adelman of University of Southern California, the first instance of a DNA Cryptography method was formulated by Jie Chan of Brown University. Essentially, this design features a decoder-encoder system on a nanoscale that utilizes DNA to store information using carbon nanotubes.

Subsequent studies hinged on this design for reference. Just like US and Europe picked up on cryptography, the Indian research community also saw broad interests in this field.

In 2007, three academicians from the College of Engineering, Guindy – Chennai, proposed a data encryption technique based on insights from various cryptosystems as well as from DNA computing methods. Leaning on the aspect of standard encryption methods, the academics mention how DNA goes into holding information. “Our DNA encoded messages are manipulated such that the plaintext strands are converted to cipher strands by adding message words to one-time pads.” So, the highlight here is the cryptography mechanism was fused into the DNA molecules. In the end, they rely on simulation to test the overall cryptography system.

Following this study, there were a number of new techniques exploring cryptography. DNA Steganography, Bimolecular DNA Cryptography, Symmetric key cryptosystems are some of the developments that grew in parallel.

Combining AI And Other Tech Areas With DNA Cryptography

As AI, ML and related areas gain momentum, with powerful practical applications, researchers are looking to combine them with DNA cryptography and see how it could glue well and provide an unseen opportunity. For example, another study published in 2017 saw the collaboration of neural networks for DNA cryptography for encryption. The neural network in this work functions as a binary sequence generator and provides ‘first level encryption’. Now, A DNA cryptographic model is imposed on this network to further reinforce encryption and improve data security. The above example reinforces how AI can bolster research in DNA cryptography. The Indian academic community can definitely look into on studies like these to totally give out something new.


DNA analysis itself is relatively new in India. Only time can tell of the impact these methods can bring if they are seen the way they other tech are being looked at in terms of data security. With the country already putting data privacy in the forefront, DNA cryptography cannot just be ignored.

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