Scientists added a bit of silver to a thin layer of salmon sperm DNA and put it between two electrodes and have created a data storage device that could lead to a cheaper replacement for silicon.

The researchers over at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany used salmon sperm cells as the source of their DNA because they grow fast. It also makes them more economical compared to the high quality silicon that's being used today.

They created their "write-once-read-many-times" (WORM) memory. From Eric Smalley at Wired:

In the default state the nanoparticles trap electrons, making them electrically resistant. Shine a laser on the film and tiny pathways open between the nanoparticles, making the material electrically conductive. So, shining a laser on a tiny patch of the film writes a bit of data. Send a current through a patch of the film to measure the conductivity, and you can read the data. Low conductivity = 0, high conductivity = 1.
[Applied Physical Letters via Wired via Gizmag image via]