How Many Gigabytes Does it Take to Make a Human?

By Casey Chan on at

How much information is stored inside a human? Not as much as you think. All you need is a mere 1.5 gigabytes to fit your entire genetic code. Veritasium did the maths in his latest video and cooked up that number using bits to understand the molecules that make up a person's genetic code.

Of course, we have a lot of cells in our body (around 40 trillion) and each of those cells contain the full 1.5 GB of our genetic code. So a real person has about 60 zettabytes (60 with 21 zeroes after) of information in total. Thats huge. Veritasium says that in the year 2020, all the digital information in the world will only tally up to 40 ZB. So turns out, there's a lot of information necessary to make a person.

But! 99.9 per cent of our genetic information is shared with everyone else on Earth. What makes us unique is much, much smaller than a ZB. In fact, it takes less than a megabyte to make a person different from the next.

So there it is. A reasonable 1.5 GB of information for our genetic code. A ridiculous 60ZB flowing in all our bodies. And an embarrassingly tiny megabyte that makes us believe we're a unique snowflake.