DNA Spray

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It's called "DNA Fog." The device fills a room with smoke to confuse an intruder. The smoke isn't just to make it hard for the person to see; it also contains droplets loaded with DNA. If the person escapes, they are still covered with it, and it's invisible.

As far as the DNA is concerned, “the material is identical” to human DNA, he said, “though there is a different sequence of components.” Much of the spray’s effectiveness, he said, comes from the mystique surrounding DNA.

“No one really knows what it is,” he said. “No one really knows how it works.”

At this McDonald’s the DNA liquid is contained in an orange box the size of a large paperback book, mounted over an entrance door. “You don’t smell it; you don’t see it; nobody knows it’s there,” said Jean-Paul Fafie, who has managed the McDonald’s for the last 12 years.

Thanks to technology, being a criminal just got that much harder. Just as stolen money can be rigged with exploding dye packs, Applied DNA Sciences has developed a mist called smartDNA that can be used to covertly spray criminals during illegal activities, such as a break-in, so that they can be later identified by police.

The DNA in the mist spray consists of artificially engineered gene sequences that act like bar codes. As a single strand of DNA with 20 base pairs in the mist can have over a trillion unique combinations, no two mists would be alike. Every tagging device would have its own unique sequence. Once sprayed, the DNA molecules attach onto a perpetrator’s clothing, shoes, hair and skin, as well as any stolen objects. The water-resistant genetic material is very difficult to wash off and lasts about two weeks.

Should a suspect be arrested, police would swab them and then read the sample using a process called polymerase chain reaction. This amplifies the genetic material, making it easy to spot. The overall process is inexpensive enough that even non-specialists could oversee it. As DNA evidence generally stands up well in court, criminals caught with traces of the mist could be prosecuted based on what the crime scene left on them.

  • insert joke about monica lewinsky time there already was another kind of dna spray...

The Applied DNA Sciences spray is already being successfully used in Sweden and has begun to be rolled out to businesses in the U.S.

  • DNA as obfuscation
  • Fabric, microdots
  • https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/diybio/qQAjdwB77tA
  • fibertyping, dna inks, varnish, laminates, metal coatings with custom dna sequences
  • THE ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY OF DNA - inventoried in cloud, DNA at its core - Should there ever be a question about the validity of a digitalDNA code, a laboratory-based analysis can be conducted to determine authenticity.


In preferred embodiments, the marker or tagging agent comprises a nucleic acid, preferably DNA. When the tagging agent is DNA, the outer casing of the capsule is typically selected such that the casing is not detrimental to the DNA itself (thus it does not react to degrade the DNA information), but remains deformable and/or readily breakable on impact, and not dangerous for use in crowds. Suitable materials for this have been described above.

The DNA in the marker is typically resistant to washing, should a suspect attempt to wash an item of marked clothing, and preferably is formulated such that it is capable of embedding into any target surface. The DNA marker can comprise naturally occurring DNA or synthesised DNA. In some embodiments, botanical DNA is used to create a unique DNA sequence, which is then used as the DNA marker. One way to form the unique DNA sequence, is to segment botanical DNA, before the segments are shuffled and reassembled to form the unique DNA sequence.

The encapsulated liquid is not especially limited, provided that it is compatible with the marker or tagging agent. Typically the encapsulated liquid comprises water or aqueous solution. Water, or aqueous solution, is preferred when the marker or tagging agent is DNA. Typically the encapsulated liquid is embedded with a custom DNA sequence, such as the SelectaDNA™ marker product developed and sold by Selectamark Security Systems pic.


The compound may be a paint, ink, paste, emulsion, glue, adhesive, or other such compound that may be mixed and/or integrated with an invisible marker. In the illustrative embodiment, the compound is paint, which is combined with the invisible marker or taggant. The marker is selected from a taggant group that includes but is not limited to a nucleic acid taggant, a DNA taggant, a luminescent taggant(s), a phosphorescent taggant(s), a chemiluminescent taggant(s), a fluoroluminescent taggant(s), an optical or machine readable taggant, a nano-particle taggant, a micro-sphere taggant, a probe insertion for surrogate authentication of the DNA, a chemical taggant having a visible, infra-red, near infra-red and ultra- Violet absorber and reflector component chemistry, a taggant that is reusable, a color-shifting ink taggant, a pigment taggant, a catalyst taggant, a taggant that has an antigenic reaction for instant, non- forensic assay, with swab swipe stylus. In one illustrative embodiment, the taggant is an invisible marker such as a nucleic acid, or UV ink.