Gene Gems: Ultra-personalized Jewelry Encapsulates Your DNA
Diamonds may be forever, but what’s more unique and rare than even the most precious stones on Earth? The code of life, said Swiss chemist Robert Grass, the mastermind behind Identity Inside, a project that aims to create ultra-personalized jewelry embedded with（嵌入） a loved one’s DNA.
The inspiration behind the custom-made baubles（小玩意儿） came from Grass’ professional work to develop technology to stabilize and store DNA. “We started playing around with the idea of what we could do with this technology,” he told Live Science. “Our DNA is what makes us unique, and with jewelry, it’s something that you want to be unique and special（独一无二&特别的）.”
So how does it work? First, the purchaser needs to collect saliva samples（唾液采样） (with a cotton swab（棉签） on the inside of his or her cheek). This is then sent to Grass’ lab in Switzerland, where the sample is processed and DNA is extracted and purified（提取和净化）. The scientists add chemicals to the liquid solution（液体溶液） containing the DNA to promote the growth of glass that “fossilizes” and encapsulates （变化石，压缩封存）the DNA at room temperature (imagine a process similar to the fossilization of mosquitos in amber（琥珀里的蚊子）).
The result is powdered（粉状） glass containing tiny strands（线串） of DNA, Grass said. Once they have this substance（物质）, the scientists then drill a small hole on the inside of a piece of jewelry (a ring, for instance), fill it with the powder and seal the opening with a flawless（无瑕疵的）, 0.02-carat（克拉） diamond.
The process leaves the DNA unharmed（无损坏的）, Grass said, which means the samples can be recovered at any time（可随时复原） for future use or analysis. The researchers also collected data on decay（衰退） and found that, under simulated storage conditions, the encapsulated DNA would decay to half its concentration（浓度） over the course of 1,000 years.
Identity Inside is offering to preserve DNA within sterling（纯正的） silver rings, Swiss-made watches and rose gold pendants（玫瑰金吊坠）, and the project is seeking funding through（筹集资金） Kickstarter. The campaign has currently raised more than $9,000, but Grass said he hopes to reach the project’s goal of almost $20,000 by Dec. 20.
For Grass, Identity Inside represents a new way to share something intimate and personal（私人而又亲密的）, which is something he said he struggled with when looking for a gift for his wife after they got married and after the birth of their child（值得学习的长句）.
“I was looking for something special, something more than just a shiny stone,” he said. “With [Identity Inside], I want to give the owner a feeling of uniqueness.”