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Dna Preservation

DNA Preservation – A Lasting Way to Memorialize Your Loved Ones

Choosing the best way to remember a loved one is often an important part of the grieving process. For those who want more than a traditional burial or cremation, there is an emerging modern option – DNA preservation. Although the process of preserving DNA in general is nothing new, advances in technology have made it possible for more families to choose DNA preservation as a way to memorialize their loved ones.

When to Collect DNA

Collecting DNA after a person has been buried is impractical, since it requires exhuming the body. Collection also can’t be done to a body that has been cremated, since that process destroys DNA. Therefore, if you are considering preserving your loved one’s DNA, it needs to be done before they are buried and prior to cremation. DNA can also be collected and preserved at any time during one’s life.

How Does It Work?

Before a person is cremated or buried, the DNA is collected from the body by taking a sample from the deceased person’s cheek, or by collecting a hair sample. The material is then sent to a laboratory to be processed, which includes purifying the DNA and preserving it. A small sample is often saved and kept in a piece of jewelry or other wearable piece of memorabilia. This provides family members with a unique way to keep someone who has passed with them in a tangible way.

What Does It Cost?

DNA preservation today is a much more affordable and practical option than it used to be. Previously, DNA had to be cryogenically frozen in order to safely store it for any length of time, a process which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and therefore was not something the average person could afford to do. Prices for DNA preservation differ depending on where you live, and how you want your loved one’s genetic material to be stored. They range from around $300 for basic storage, to $1,500 at the higher end of the spectrum.

Why Choose DNA Preservation?

There are many reasons why families might choose to preserve a loved one’s DNA. For example, the preserved DNA allows family members to research their medical history and ancestry, which could give them insight into what’s in store medically for other members of the family. Alternatively, DNA preservation could also potentially help in a missing child situation and/or for paternal testing purposes as well. In addition, since DNA can now be stored almost anywhere (at room temperature), from your living room to a vial around your neck, it makes for an increasingly popular option for remembering loved ones who have passed.

We have developed an end-of-life planning guide to help families answer important questions as they plan their final wishes.

Funeral Planning Guide
  • Megan Zopf Reply February 15, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    The DNA is interesting. My brother was cremated at your place and I do have some of his hair. Is there a time limit as to how long DNA can be done?

    • Robert Bever Reply March 3, 2022 at 1:03 pm

      hello I am a DNA Forensic scientist (30 years service). DNA has been recovered from hairs that are older than 100 years, especially if the hair has roots and the hair has been kept in a dry environment. If the nuclear DNA is highly degraded due to poor storage, than mtDNA from teh hair shaft can be recovered and analyzed. Additionally todays technology of the 2020s have demonstratted that Single Nucleotide Polymorphism analysis can be done on hair or tissue stored for very long periods of time or tissue that has been preserved by embalming.

      . You want to use a company this used to processing forensic DNA samples or ancient archaelogical samples. You want to avoid using clinical DNA companies, parentage DNA companies, or genetic genealogy companies. Private companies such as Bode Technology Inc should be able to assist you. Note I work for Bode Technology, but I am providing a personal response, not as a representative of Bode Technology.

  • Alice Reply June 13, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    Hi my father passed away in September of 2021. I know they kept his heart for further study. How long do they keep it for and would I be able to get DNA from his heart?

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