02 October 2013

DNA Memorial

Our DNA is a genealogical record and although it's written in a language we don't much understand that capability is growing.

Just as you wouldn't throw out a family history written in a language you don't understand neither should you throw out your DNA record or those of your loved ones.

DNA Memorial is a company in Thunder Bay working with the funeral industry to collect and preserve DNA, primarily in objects that would be kept with the family including incorporated into a variety of highly personal keepsakes. The collection is done at the funeral home and the DNA bound to a silicon substrate by the company in a form that is stable for the long term under normal conditions, although it should not be exposed to sunlight. Analysis can be done at any later date.

The company has arrangements with 200 funeral homes in the US and Canada, including in Toronto but none yet in Ottawa, and is starting a marketing push with funeral homes this fall. That includes convincing the very conservative industry that taking a sample, through a cheek swab, hair with the root or underarm sample, is an ethical thing to do. The company has an article coming out in a funeral home industry trade magazine, and will be on CBC Dragons Den
for a second time this fall.

In the US funeral homes have been sued for not offering such a service owing to the potential health benefits in knowing an ancestor's genetics.

You can read more in the FAQ at http://www.dnamemorial.com/faq.shtml

Thanks to Jane MacNamara for the tip. I've added a link to Jane's website/blog.

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