Did you know that all humans, regardless of their ancestry, have DNA that’s 99.9 percent similar to every other person on the planet? It’s true; that last 0.1 percent is where all the differences come from, and to highlight this, designer Iona Inglesby has set out to help us visualize the mere 0.1 percent of our genetic makeup that actually distinguishes each of us as unique individuals. To do this, her company Dot One uses DNA analysis to turn your most unique genetic markers into color-coded masterpieces that you can order as posters, scarves, or even tartan blankets.
Inglesby’s company takes a decidedly more visual and artistic role in popularizing understanding of DNA. Other startups dance on the dangerous line between genetics and eugenics, but Inglesby wants to generate a more relatable approach to the building blocks of humanity.
To gather the genetic information needed to create its DNA art, the company first outsources DNA samples in the form of cheek swabs to AlphaBiolabs, a facility that specializes in genetic testing. These samples are then tested and scanned multiple times to search for specific sections of DNA information called Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). These genetic code segments vary most from person to person, so your DNA scarf would look nothing like that of your best friend.
AlphaBiolabs analyzes 23 specific STRs from each genetic sequence, and then assigns numerical values to each one. Those numerical values are translated to colors, as selected by Inglesby. The colors are what become the woven patterns and fibers in Dot One’s personal DNA product line. “When you do DNA profiling, they run your sample through a gel and it creates a quite geometric, linear pattern. The prints are reflective of the process itself,” said Inglesby.
You can order a DNA Personalized Print from Dot One for about $206 at the moment, whereas one of the company’s Personalized DNA Scarfs will set you back roughly $461. Each product order comes with a DNA testing kit and a guide to understanding genetics and DNA profiling. For a personalised family tree or tartan to represent the DNA that runs through your ancestry, you’ll have to get in touch with Dot One directly.