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For California company, one-of-a-kind art is in the DNA

posted 13 Sept 2010, 10:21 by Mpelembe   [ updated 13 Sept 2010, 10:25 ]

A California company is offering to turn your genetic code into a work of art for your wall. "Yonder Biology" is a start-up run by two artistic scientists - or scientific artists - who say they are connecting consumers to the very essence of what makes them who they are.

ENCINITAS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - Is it science, or is it art? California company Yonder Biology says it's both.

For several hundred dollars, depending on the chosen design, former biotech scientists Dean Sauer and Andy Bass will take your DNA and turn it into a portrait.


"A lot of people don't even know what DNA looks like, or it's just an idea. With this we can actually give them something tangible that they can hold in their hands and say, oh, this is me, this is what my DNA is."

DNA makes for intriguing art given its complex scientific function. The genes within DNA are passed down from each parent and determine such characteristics as hair color and skin tone. And because each customer is unique, so is the portrait.

The artistic process begins with a cheek swab. The cells collected on the swab contain the DNA which Yonder Biology extracts and processes to the point where it can be imaged on a computer. Dean Sauer says scientists have been using similar methods for decades.


"This technology has been around since the 1980s, so it's nothing really new, but it's definitely new to the average everyday consumer."

Consumers like Charlie Bishop, whose best friend passed away two years ago. Charlie ended up marrying his late friend's widow and adopting their daughter Lauren, who was seven months old at the time.

For his wife's birthday, Bishop ordered a Yonder Biology artwork mixing a photograph of Lauren with her DNA, a pictorial link to her late father


"This photo for us is not just a piece of art, it's a connection to the past, it's a connection to Lauren's dad, to my best friend."

And for Andy Bass and Dean Sauer it's the product of a growing business that they say, has become a part of their DNA.

Rob Muir, Reuters