The DNA research lab at the University of Michigan. Photo by University of Michigan SNRE
Memorials are meaningful, unique ways to commemorate a loved one after they’re gone. From cremation ash glass to fingerprint jewelry, there are hundreds of ways to remember someone special – but one very special memorial could be the key to a healthy, longer life for future generations. DNA storage is the amazing memorial that could literally save lives.
What is DNA?
DNA is in every cell of your body. It contains all your genetic information, influencing how you will grow and develop. It was first identified by Swiss biologist Johannes Friedrich Miescher in 1869.
Since then science has made leaps forward at an astonishing rate. We now routinely use DNA evidence in criminal court cases, to answer questions about history and people, and even test unborn babies for genetic disorders – but scientists are only just beginning to discover the genetic secrets that DNA holds.
Doctors are increasingly using genetic information to identify different types of cancer and other conditions, figure out how certain drugs work best, and prevent hereditary diseases. There’s no telling exactly where genetic research will take us in the future, but an increasing number of life-threatening diseases are being treated by studying the genetic code of families.
DNA storage could help future doctors and researchers. Photo by University of Michigan SNRE.
DNA preservation and storage
By preserving and storing the DNA of a loved one, you can ensure that their genetic information is not lost when they die. This could prove invaluable to future generations, who can choose to have the sample tested at any point.
For example, if your great-great-grandchild was seriously ill, having access to your DNA and genetic information could help their doctors figure out the best diagnosis and treatment. Alternatively, your DNA could be used in genetic research, leading to breakthroughs in scientists’ understanding of the human body.
Now specialist companies are offering people the chance to preserve their DNA, or the DNA of a loved one after they die, so that future generations have access to that invaluable information.
A unique DNA memorial
If you want to preserve your loved one’s DNA after they die, you should talk to the staff at your chosen funeral home as soon as possible. They can then liaise with a DNA storage company, such as DNA Memorial.
The funeral director will then take a small sample of DNA from your loved one. This is usually done with a cheek swab or hair sample.
This DNA sample is sent to a DNA preservation laboratory. At DNA Memorial, the team uses a specially-developed procedure to extract and store the DNA in a sterile container. The sample will be returned to you in a presentation box with a certificate of authenticity.
The DNA is stored in a protective container, where the genetic information contained within will survive indefinitely without refrigeration. It will be useful for many generations to come, and the very essence of who your loved one was will be kept safe forever. Should their descendants need to send the DNA for testing, the sample will be as pure as the day it was collected and provide a wealth of information for doctors of the future.
A DNA preservation giftbox. Photo by DNA Memorial.
A treasured keepsake
DNA Memorial also offers memorial gifts along with DNA storage. As well as having the genetic information safely stored in the sealed container, there is a range of remembrance crystals and jewelry available.
These glass keepsakes are designed by a team of professional glass artists and also have some of your loved one’s DNA incorporated into them. In this way DNA preservation can be both a useful inheritance for your loved one’s descendants and a gift of remembrance.
As the complex scientific methods involved become more affordable, and the public becomes more aware of the process, the demand for DNA preservation is expected to grow and many people now want to preserve their DNA while they are alive for the benefit of their surviving relatives.
Talk to your funeral director to get in touch with a DNA preservation company.