Getting a matching tattoo with your best friend or dedicating a piece of ink to a lost loved one isn't a new concept — but the latest way people are choosing to do so certainly is. Enter: DNA tattoos.
Typically, the kind of trends we see in this department come in the form of small, dainty designs or symbolic body art etched on the likes of Hollywood's elite. But the latest fad is in a league of its own — which, according to The New York Times, involves imbuing the DNA of a loved one into tattoo ink.
Primarily recognised by underground artist as "morbid ink," this process has been further developed by Patrick Duffy's Endeavor Life Sciences. Here's how it works: Everence, a powdery substance, is synthesised from a sample of DNA — like from the inside of someone's mouth, carbonised hair, or cremated ashes, for example. The New York Times explained that customers mail these DNA samples to Endeavor’s laboratory in Quonset, R.I., where it is then "milled, sterilised, and enclosed in microscopic capsules of PMMA." The samples are then brought in to a tattoo artist, where they then mixed it in with the ink.
Reportedly, this practice is safe for injection because the non-biodegradable polymer used doesn't absorb into the skin, which eliminates the risk of being recognised by the immune system. However, it doesn't come without risk. As of right now, tattoo ink is recognised by the FDA as a cosmetic — meaning it's not regulated (although the administration does caution consumers about potential infections and dangers of tattoos).
And it will set you back around £400. This includes the kit to retrieve the DNA, the process of creating the powder, and the eventual return to the client months later. “Initially, Everence will take a limited amount of pre-orders to gauge demand," reported The New York Times. "The company will offer payment plans for those who cannot afford to pay all at once."