dna art on the cheap
February 14, 2006 10:40 AM   Subscribe

My GoogleFu has failed me. Does anyone know of a place I could send a swab of DNA from my cheek and get a photo of it back (after they do the Chomatography thing). Because I love these but I'm too cheap and figure given the source image I could do the rest myself.
posted by zeoslap to Science & Nature (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd say your best shot is to find a friend or a friend-of-friend who works in an academic biolab where they could do this sort of good-natured screwing around without getting in trouble.

It costs less than $20 in materials to extract the DNA, cut it, and run it on a gel... so would anybody sell you this service for less than $100? I'm curious too.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2006

It's actually electrophoresis, rather than chromotography. I'd offer to do it for you, but I work with mouse DNA and don't have any human-specific thingamabobs that would let me constuct a 'DNA profile' of you... If you're willing to pay for a couple of reagents I could definitely do it...
posted by greatgefilte at 11:01 AM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: What would the reagents cost?
posted by zeoslap at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2006

Best answer: Well, the folks who work at the bench next to me have a lot of human-specific stuff. We can probably even do this the 'official' way -- have us check 10-20 bits of your DNA. It's something like $1 for each 'check.' Email me.
posted by greatgefilte at 11:09 AM on February 14, 2006

I was gonna say "forget about getting a friend to do it, it needs primers for variable regions of human DNA that they probably don't have sitting around" but that's awesome, greatgefilte.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2006

Yeah, the perks of working at a core facility. :)
posted by greatgefilte at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: Awesome indeed :) Like I said in my email to greatgefilte MeFi never ceases to amaze me :)
posted by zeoslap at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: fMRI picture of my brain.... now that would be sweet, small, but sweet; and yes I think the DNA art is very cool looking (hence the post) each to his own :)
posted by zeoslap at 11:27 AM on February 14, 2006

Is this a joke?

i think the other thing is that the commercial ones are really really nicely matted and printed. I'd guess it would cost at least $100-150 to get that nice of a print from a negative*, so $390 for the whole shebang doesn't seem that crazy to me.

One thing art school taught me is that presentation is extremely important. You can have good work that's shittily presented and it's worthless, and shitty work that's really well presented that looks awesome.

* But i don't know a lot about huge photo prints, so, uh, yeah
posted by fishfucker at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2006

The real cost of dna11's process is in the print-making.

Each piece is carefully processed to ensure the highest level of quality, and is then printed as a Giclee fine art piece. The art is made using high quality acid free polyester-cotton canvas, using pigmented inks designed to resist fading. It is then sealed with a non-yellowing protective varnish to further prolong the print life.

It's a fairly high-quality print they're making, though at $390 for a 18" x 24" print you're definitely still paying a "cool" premium.
posted by junesix at 11:58 AM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: For printing on canvas I've used these guys before and the results were very good, and a lot cheaper than $390 for 18x24.
posted by zeoslap at 12:01 PM on February 14, 2006

Yeah, the cost of doing the actual biology work is negligible. But if zeoslap's printing place is good, I'm more than willing to provide the biology end of it to anyone who asks for $25 or so. (I'm still making sure it's ok with the bosses, but for now it looks like it won't be a problem).
posted by greatgefilte at 12:07 PM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: Also the prints from dna11 aren't stretched or framed. You just get the print.
posted by zeoslap at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2006

Oh -- it's Giclee? (aka -- my ink jet printer?)

nevermind then.
posted by fishfucker at 12:25 PM on February 14, 2006

seems for a 24 x 36 print, stretched and coated it will be about $120 from that place! wow, that is really rad. if greatgefilte is really willing to do the bio for a decent fee, i am totally in! gotta love mefi.
posted by annoyance at 1:20 PM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: Assuming he gets the go ahead from his boss you can get a swab kit for $3.49 from here or try for a free sample from these guys
posted by zeoslap at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2006

zeo - $3.49, yes, but $12 for shipping and handling!!! There's a similar kit from these guys, with only $5.99 s/h. You can also get a free kit from the myriad paternity testing places, although they usually stipulate that you use their kit for their own services.
posted by greatgefilte at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: Seeing as my wife and I (well mostly her) are about to have a baby any day now I should probably avoid fouling up my Google search history with Paternity Tests :)
posted by zeoslap at 1:56 PM on February 14, 2006

The most likely problem will be the resolution of the gel documentation system greatgefilte has access to. Unless you still have access to old-fashioned gel photography, I'm pretty sure the picture will be pixellated when blown up from the original 2"x3" or whatever.
That might, of course, look cooler. Just sayin'.
posted by nowonmai at 8:02 PM on February 14, 2006

Response by poster: Well the image is such that is would be relatively easy to run some photoshop filters over to remove any pixelation.
posted by zeoslap at 7:25 AM on February 15, 2006

For anyone still following this thread, dna11's "proprietary" Glowframe appears to be the same as these backlit Photoglow frames. The 28" x 40" Photoglow frame matted to 23" x 35" is $399 as compared to $1300 at dna11.
posted by junesix at 11:31 PM on February 20, 2006

Additionally, I've posted a helpful PDF file explaining the process for anyone who wishes to make their own DNA art through me.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:27 PM on February 21, 2006

Aw, crap, that link should go here.
posted by greatgefilte at 7:28 PM on February 21, 2006

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