Service preserves DNA after death

Posted at 9:29 AM, Nov 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-10 09:29:01-05

BOISE, ID (KIVI/CNN) - The rise in cremation has led to a new business - DNA preservation.

Let's face it, no one wants to think about that last big decision, burial or cremation. More people are choosing cremation, which has, in part, given rise to a new service.

For about $300, a service called DNA Memorial can preserve a loved one's DNA in a tiny vial for years to come.  You can even get the vial incorporated into a stylish glass keepsake.

"The ability to take postmortem DNA and have that stored for a family can be very valuable," said Cheryl Godbout of Cloverdale Funeral Home. "We've had very good response to it and there's a lot of interest in the DNA now."

According to the flyer, DNA Memorial can calculate inherited disease risks for children and future generations. 

"If they want to test it, they can for anything from ancestry to diseases to different genetic things that might be going on." Godbout said

Of course, each test costs an additional fee of several hundred dollars.

A scientist said there's not much scientific benefit to the service.

"I don't really see the informational benefit of getting a swab at death. You have a copy of your own DNA walking around with you," said Greg Hampikian, a DNA expert at Boise State University.

If you're concerned about your own health or future generations, Hampikian said you can take your own DNA sample using a swab.

"It'll tell you everything you need to know about your own health," he said. "I've seen DNA last 40 years at least. I'm sure it's good way beyond that. But there are lot of things people sell to preserve DNA. It's not necessary."

If you just like having your loved one close to you, and many do, a keepsake may be the way to go. At least it's more personal than a swab package. 

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