DNA Memorialization Prior to Burial or Cremation

Cremation

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Owen Toy

What is DNA Memorialization?

DNA memorialization (also called DNA preservation) is the process of taking the DNA of someone and preserving it before they are buried or cremated.

DNA is a genealogical record of your body. Everyone has their own unique DNA makeup which means no two people are identical. DNA can be kept either at home as a keepsake for families or stored in a DNA bank. Burying and cremating a body can compromise the integrity of the person’s DNA. Cremating a body will result in 100% destruction of the DNA and will be gone forever which is why It is important to get a DNA sample before cremating the body.

How do I preserve my DNA?

To preserve your DNA a cheek swab, hair sample, or a skin sample will be taken. DNA can be taken by plucking a hair or taking a blood sample with something like a needle.

Another more less invasive way of obtaining DNA is to take a sterile cotton swab and brush it onto the inside of the cheek. After doing this whoever took the sample will let it air dry then seal the sample and send it to the lab.

Anything with a plastic or cellulose material is suitable for collecting the DNA.  

Once the DNA is taken it is then stored in a temperature controlled room. DNA can be used to trace back your lineage up to 5,000 years!

Why should I preserve my DNA?

Preserving DNA can be helpful to your family since DNA is the blueprint on how to build a living thing. While DNA is written in a code we cannot fully decipher yet, scientists can now recognize and interpret it and someday they will be able to have a more complete understanding of it. That is why it is important to save our DNA today.  

By preserving your and your loved ones' DNA you can help doctors with a number of health related topics and safeguard your family's medical history. Since DNA changes very little from generation to generation doctors can use DNA banking to help foresee sicknesses and other patterns that may be genetic to your family. According to the scientists at DNA Memorial, DNA banking can help doctors complete an accurate medical history which can assist with the following:

  • Diagnosing a medical condition

  • Determining whether you may benefit from preventive measures to lower your risk of a specific disease

  • Deciding what medical tests to run /medications/medication dosage

  • Identifying other members of your family who are at risk of developing certain diseases

  • Calculating your risk of certain diseases

  • Calculating your risk of passing certain conditions to your children

  • Selecting effective therapies (gene therapy rapidly becoming a viable option)

  • Measuring mutation rates over generations (which can now predict health problems before they happen)

Who Preserves DNA?

To preserve your DNA you can go to your local hospital and ask them to take a sample of your DNA and save it for you. There are also a couple websites that you can get a DNA kit and save your DNA at home. A few sites that we found were dnacapsule.com and securigene.com.  

A typical DNA kit will cost about $300-$400. DNA Memorial is one company at the forefront of DNA preservation at the time of a funeral. To facilitate DNA collection & preservation during the funeral arrangement process, you can ask your funeral director whether they can assist you with this collection and submission.