Obtaining a DNA Sample

We will send you a DNA collection kit and instructions on how to perform a cheek swab.  This removes a thin layer of epithelial cells from the inside of your cheek, providing the DNA we need to generate your unique genetic profile.  Return your sample back to the lab using the enclosed, prepaid envelope.  Simple as that!


DDL HowItsMade 1 740px Wide Tablet e1480388504484 - DNA Artwork

Extracting the DNA

The first thing we do is extract and purify your DNA from the cheek swab.  We use a series of heated chemicals that break open the epithelial cells and release the DNA into solution.  The DNA is then spun at high speed in a centrifuge and concentrated.

Copying the DNA

We then amplify specific DNA sequences that are unique only to you, making millions of copies. Using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), billions of replicas of the targeted DNA regions are created using a series of temperature fluctuations.  Since DNA is a very small molecule, this step is crucial to see your DNA fragments with the naked eye!

Separating the DNA

Gel Electrophoresis separates the billions of DNA copies. An electric current is applied to the DNA in a gel made of agarose, a gelatin-like substance that is actually contained in many Asian dishes! In genetics, agarose is used because it produces a network of very small pores that allow DNA to pass through. Larger pieces of DNA are hindered by their size so will end up towards the top of the gel, while smaller DNA fragments will migrate faster and more efficiently towards the bottom.

Gel Imaging

Images of agarose gels are taken in black and white. The image is then cleaned up to remove imperfections from the gel pouring process. Depending on your taste, we apply a unique color set that will make your piece of DNA artwork truly personalized and one-of-a-kind!

DDL HowItsMade 1 740px Wide Tablet e1480388504484 - DNA Artwork
DDL HowItsMade 1 740px Wide - DNA Artwork

Interpreting Your Art

There are ten “lanes” in your portrait and each lane has several “bands”.  Each band is a gene that is unique only to you.   Some of these bands are characteristic genes that represent your unique traits:  Eye Color, Memory, Intelligence, Love and Energy.  Each portrait is unique, but when aligning yours with a family member’s you might see some striking similarities…