It used to be that getting someone’s name or image tattooed on your body was the ultimate in confessing your love for someone, right? Not anymore. DNA testing is leading to tattoos that contain the DNA of your loved one – now being described as the ultimate bond.
The technology developed by Brown and Duke University scientists makes it possible to have DNA incorporated into tattoo ink. The DNA could be from the hair of a beloved pet or the cremated remains of a deceased family member.
The idea is the brainchild of Patrick Duffy who wanted to find new ways of connecting people while honoring those they may have lost. The concept was inspired by Special Operations Gold Stars, which is dedicated to surviving spouses and children of fallen Special Operations personnel killed in combat. However, customers include people celebrating the birth of a child, getting engaged or married, as well as those losing a loved one in various ways.
Duffy and Dr Edith Mathiowitz, a professor at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering at Brown University, have successfully patented the technology. The resulting company is called Endeavor Life Sciences. A customer orders a DNA test kit, either a DNA cheek swab or ash and hair container from the website, and the samples are sent to Endeavor’s laboratory in Quonset, Rhode Island. Here the material is milled, sterilized and enclosed in polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), a medical grade material, to form a powder. This can then be brought to a tattoo artist and added to any type of inks.
Duffy is now investigating whether paintings, textiles and other sentimental items can be instilled with Everence.
“The science of forever is a tricky business. It’s not an easy thing to do, but we’ve done it. We have created a way for people to keep their loved ones’ DNA with them forever”, said Dr Mathiowitz.
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