Technology is day by day, developing and thereby fulfilling the demands of the people. Today, scientists have given us innumerable examples proving nothing is impossible if you know how to use the technology. DNA Portraits bring up one such creative revolution.
As we know, the human genome holds an extraordinary trove of information about human development, physiology, medicine, and evolution. Anywhere we go, we somehow always leave a trail of personal data - in the stray hairs that land on park benches, or saliva on the edges of coffee cups, or even on a piece of chewing gum.
You won't believe that your portrait can be made by using this simple personal information. Yes, you are reading, right!
Scientists have made this possible by introducing the concept of DNA portraits. Now your hair or cheek cell can do a lot more work than testing for diseases or your genome for ancestry. With the help of DNA portraits, You can now express your DNA as a piece of artwork.
How can one's DNA be transformed into a work of art?!
Many scientists have practiced this, and the results are just amazing.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg reconstructs the faces of strangers from genetic evidence she scavenges from the streets. As she follows the way back to her house in Brooklyn, down the streets or on the footpaths or near the bus stops, she collects the fingernails, cigarette butts, and wads of discarded chewing gum. She then processes these samples and then extracts the DNA, and then on further processing, she is left with certain facial models. A 3D printer helps to get the actual sculptures.
But how all these started?
In an article published by The New York Times magazine, the DNA 11's Co-founder Adrian Salamunovic stated that the idea came out of his curiosity from some of the images inside a company's brochure for which his friend Nazim Ahmed was working.
Ahmed, who also had a degree in genetics, was selling some equipment that produced images of DNA samples for use in laboratories. Some of the blocky patterns of black and gray looked, to Salamunovic, like Rothkos.
He pondered whether everyone's DNA can result in similar images? His mind was battling with numerous questions like what happens if colors are added to this? What would be the outcome!
He persuaded Ahmed and asked him to put a sample of his DNA through the process, to see.
He loved the result. He brought up the enlarged version of the portrait to his home, which then became a major center of attraction among people.
Within months, both Salamunovic and Ahmed set up a simple Website selling different DNA portraits and quit their day jobs; their work was praised by websites like MoCo Loco and magazines like Wired, which helped them sell thousands of DNA portraits. The company adds to its product line (it already offers fingerprint-based art) and signing up retail partners.
From a single DNA to beautiful and unique wall hanging portraits, what happens behind the scene??
DNA portraits are prepared in high-tech labs, including several processing levels, to get the final result. The company isolates the DNA from the given sample by the process called DNA isolation.
In this process, the company extracts the DNA from your model and purifies it using several biological techniques. The amplification of the DNA results in identical copies that can be counted in thousands. These copies are put through a gel, and as per the size, the DNA strands get separated and move in the gel.
The current is passed through the gel to help the DNA pieces move to their final place. The unique pattern created on the DNA art is due to the faster movement of smaller sized particles through the gel than larger sizes. Once they're done moving in the grid, they are set in place, creating your DNA pattern and DNA art. The resulting piece of art is beautiful and a visual representation of you and the genetic material you are made.
What for the customers?
For the ease of customers and to make this process simpler, efficient, and less time taking, DNA portraits are made by different scientific companies that specialize in this form of art, such as canvaspop, Dna11, DNA art, and many more.
These companies send you a sampling kit that you use to swab your mouth or include some blood, tissue, or hair samples from which they extract your DNA code. To help you with the process, they provide instructions inside this collection kit. This kit is provided to you shortly after placing the order, normally within 2-3 working days.
You have to choose the color, frame, and size of your choice from their limitless range of collection and various color sample swatches. As soon as you provide them the essentials via mail, they begin processing the sample with eight different makers, ensuring unique canvas art for each customer.
After intensifying the unique DNA bands (so there's enough DNA to visualize), separating them according to size using an electric field (preventing lumping of molecules), and staining them with some UV dye (highlighting the DNA samples present), the company takes a digital image and gifts a beautiful piece of art that shows your DNA and genes in an artistic format or portrait.
You also get a chance to combine the DNA samples on a single canvas and add signatures to your art piece.
DNA art is a unique form of an inventive approach. Anyone can have one of these portraits with them. Once you find a company to assist you, it becomes easy for you to have one. The cost of these portraits can range anywhere from $200 to $2000, depending on the company and the type of picture you choose. Various companies also provide mini portraits, professionally framed portraits, and multiple extras at additional costs.
DNA art is a mind-blowing technological and artistic approach for someone who wants to show possession of your very own genome framed up on the wall as a portrait. It is surely a unique and different art piece that no one else could ever think of or create.