How'd they do it? Well, it all boils down to letters and numbers.
If you remember back to your middle school biology class, DNA is composed of two coiled strands consisting of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).
Using the zeros-and-ones of computer language, the Harvard team began with the digital version of the book. On paper, they translated the zeros into the A or C of the DNA base pair. Likewise, they translated the ones into the G or T.
Then they created actual DNA - nearly 55,000 short strands that all included the new coded sequence that contained portions of the text.
In this viscous-liquid or solid-salt form, researchers said that a billion copies of the book could easily fit into a test tube and that they could last for centuries, provided with the right conditions.
"It shows that the vast increase in capacity to synthesize and sequence DNA can be applied to store significant amounts of data," said synthetic biologist Drew Endy at Stanford University, who wasn't involved in the project. "If you wanted to have your library encoded in DNA, you could probably do that now."