The feeling of wanting to keep someone with you always is something most people can relate to.
But now, a number of people have started taking that to an extreme thanks to Everence, a substance created from human DNA that is being mixed with ink for tribute tattoos.
The product was developed by Patrick Duffy’s Endeavor Life Sciences, based in Quonset, Rhode Island, after he was inspired by a tattoo on the leg of a Navy SEAL’s widow.
Inking up: Everence, a substance created from human DNA, is being used in tattoo tributes
The product: The vials, including production, cost $675 each
Duffy, 40, who was running a scuba diving therapeutic program for military veterans at the time in Key Largo, was moved by the woman’s tribute, reports New York Times.
Four years later, Duffy and his colleagues have created a unique way of incorporating DNA into tattoo ink so that people can carry a little piece of their loved ones with them always.
The company has built on previous biogenic tattooing methods including using cremated ashes and hair in tattoos. So-called ‘morbid ink’ is has long been around, practiced by underground artists.
But Everence is a cut above most of these because of its process that sees the DNA captured in microscopic capsules of PMMA (plexiglass) in the ink, making it a comparatively safer method.
A permanent mark: A number of artist have already started using the substance, which is made safer thanks to the genetic material being captured in microscopic capsules of plexiglass
The process: Customers are sent a DNA kit that is then brought to the lab and synthesized
The brains: Patrick Duffy, 40, was inspired while working with vets in Key Largo
The non-biodegradable polymer keeps the genetic material from actually absorbing into the skin, keeping the immune system from recognizing its presence.
Everence is synthesized using DNA as minimal as just a few thousand cells, which can even be obtained from a simple cheek swab. Once it is turned into the light, powdery substance, it can be taken to an artist and added to inks before tattooing.
It is best to always keep in mind however, that risks always exist in tattooing. Currently, tattoo ink is classified as cosmetic by the FDA, which means it isn’t regulated.
The complicated process isn’t a cheap one, with one vial costing $675 including the DNA retrieval kit and the powder-making process.
Duffy has already found tattoo artists keen to take on the idea, as well as medical professionals ready to vouch for the ink’s safety.
Duffy himself already has one of the tattoos: a flock of flying birds made with Everence from his daughter.