Don’t be Tracked, Analyzed or Cloned
“As embodied creatures we leave genetic material around all the time – it’s part of what makes us human. We are constantly leaving traces, clues as to who we are. The possibility of genetic surveillance is the possibility of analyzing these artifacts to extract incredibly personal, intimate information – things you may not even know about yourself.”
In 2013, Dewey-Hagborg’s controversial “Stranger Visions” project highlighted the issue of genetic privacy. She taught herself how to create accurate 3D-printed portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material, such as hair samples, cigarette butts, saliva, and lipstick stains, which strangers unwittingly leave behind in public places. It demonstrated the ease with which human DNA can now be acquired and digitally re-constructed.
According to Dewey-Hagborg, this new set of sprays will allow you to choose where, how, and with whom you share your genetic information with. More importantly, it will prevent others from taking your DNA and mining it for information, by erasing your identity and making you invisible. Invisible consists of 2 sprays. The first is “Erase”, an anti-DNA cleaning spray. The second is “Replace”, a mixture of genetic material that camouflages the original sample.
“If I have your genome sequence, theoretically I can do more than just know very personal things about you. I can clone you. I can impersonate you. It’s a sci-fi scenario but it is a reality now.”
As Heather suggests, if you have someone’s genome sequence it is theoretically possible to do more than know very personal things about that person. In the future, it could be possible to clone someone with a DNA sample. Clones are organisms that are exact genetic copies. Every single bit of their DNA is identical. To our knowledge, no human being has been cloned so far, although scientists believe it is only a matter of time. Animals, on the other hand, are already being cloned. Dolly the Sheep was the first animal to be cloned in 1997. But it remains a controversial science.