5 Insanely Frivolous Uses of DNA Technology
Sure, science fiction is full of horrifying genetic experiments gone wrong, but in the real world, manipulating DNA can result in some amazing things. Hell, the cost of testing DNA has come down so much that you can now buy a kit at Walmart for $27. Really.
So now that this technology is in the hands of the masses, we can dismiss the ridiculous fears of a Gattaca-type dystopia where our own genes can be used against us in horrifying ways. Because really, what's so horrifying about using DNA technology for ...
Testing Your Cheating Partner's Underwear
Finding out if your significant other is being faithful is a rough task in this day and age. Sure, you've stalked them on Facebook and secretly monitored their text messages. You've followed them around all day wearing a hat and sunglasses in a rented car, waiting to see if they smiled too much at anyone who isn't you. But if only there was some way to know for sure. Of course, the trust is already gone from the relationship and has been replaced only with bitter paranoia, and sure, you'd both be happier just parting ways. But without the help of science, how can you win that final argument?
That's why you need to head on over to Infidelity DNA Testing and hire them to carefully examine your soul mate's dirty underwear for incriminating DNA.
"We're not exploiting misery, we're just taxing paranoia!"
Infidelity DNA Testing is an easy three-step process. First, you simply steal some of your partner's unwashed underwear and send it in for a test. While you are sitting on a park bench somewhere, staring off into nothing and wondering how your life got to this point, they will check the underwear for foreign DNA and offer you the final step: comparison. If there is a third set of DNA in those Underoos, you've got yourself a cheating spouse! Then you can talk it out like rational adults. Really, they'll have no choice but to be rational after you begin the conversation with "Speaking of taking out the garbage, guess whose DNA the lab found on your panties?"
"Oh I dunno, Karen, maybe it was your mother's -- wait, what?"
Oh, we should probably mention that all three steps together costs over $600. But don't worry, Infidelity DNA Testing assures you that this is way less than the cost of a private investigator. Though they conveniently fail to mention that it costs about $600 more than a simple sit-down chat with your significant other, who is undoubtedly a terrible liar.
Unless your significant other is kind of pricey, in which case you have bigger things to worry about.
It should also be mentioned that this radical "talking" method will save you from having to say the words "You think I'm crazy? Well, just to be sure, I mailed a pair of your panties to be tested for Travis' semen!" or, if they come back clean, answering the question of "What's this credit card charge for 'cheating spouse DNA panty test'?"
Busting People Who Don't Pick Up After Their Dog
You wake up, head downstairs and run out the door to grab the morning paper. You feel a squish under your loafer and realize that once again, some inconsiderate douchebag allowed their filthy mutt to defecate on your lawn. You might be thinking, "If only I could get my hands on that person. Like if I could, I don't know, do a CSI-style exam on the dogshit to prove it was them. Then I'd know who to confront, and that my life had lost all meaning."
Well, hypothetical person who almost certainly doesn't have a job or hobbies or anyone who loves you, we have good news: The future has arrived, and we are finally using DNA to fight poop-related crime. That's thanks to a company named PooPrints that calls itself "the only DNA dog waste management & control program." We are willing to take their word on that.
Essentially, you're paying $90 for a cotton swab so your dog's DNA can be entered into a worldwide database. If your dog shits anywhere in the world, you can bet PooPrints will know about it.
"I've been on the run since '07, but I got a good thing going here. Please don't ruin it."
Wait a second. Why in the world would you voluntarily enter your own dog into such a database? Isn't this service to track down the neglectful free-shitters?
Well, ask Deborah Violette. She owns an apartment complex in New Hampshire and was apparently really tired of putting up with everyone's shit. Or ... everyone's dog's shit, to be more specific. She now requires everyone who owns a dog in the Timberwood Commons apartment complex to submit to a doggie DNA test so that if she finds crap on the lawn, she can gather it up and send it off to be examined by a room full of lab technicians who almost surely drink themselves to sleep every night.
"The emails they send me are always stained with tears. How is that even possible?"
Of course, as with all new scientific advances, Violette was met with some resistance. Mostly by people who think this is "completely over the top." But other apartment complexes are following suit, because these are the final days of a once-great civilization.
DNA Match Dating
In an era when websites can match you to a partner based on complex algorithms, we're slowly leaving behind the savage days when you might have to go outside and actually interact with someone to find out if you're romantically compatible. But that still doesn't really feel like we've gotten all the way to a dystopian future where humans are paired and bred like cattle.
"With a one in three chance of being processed into meat, who doesn't like those odds?"
Well, they're working on it. Finally, there are services that can take your genetic profile and match you with someone who has a similar genetic profile, so that you can finally mate the way the Vulcans probably do it.
Thanks to a site called GenePartner, you can simply order their $249 GenePartner test, swab your mouth and mail the swab out to them. In two shorts weeks, they'll give you what you've always been looking for: a lab-grown clone of yourself.
"... we expect the vast majority of our sales to come from narcissistic polyamorists and gun ranges."
Oh, wait, no. They'll just match you to a genetically compatible partner. More than five sites use the GenePartner genetic matchmaking to find you true love. You can even use your genetic results to find compatible matches on Facebook. Not that they need to compare the DNA -- if you're both the type of people who think a cold calculation based on genetic makeup is the best way to find true love (to the point where you're both willing to shell out 250 bucks), you're probably already perfect for each other.
"I also disinfect my hands every time I touch another human! Do you keep your fingernail clippings in a jar?"
Of course, for scientists, it's less about love and more about preserving our species with disease-resistant children. But you shouldn't think of it that way, it kills the romance.
Spotting Fake Seafood
Some of us love seafood, and certainly most of us are aware that much of it can get pretty pricey. There's a reason that the "McLobster" never caught on, after all.
Well, one of many reasons.
But as we have pointed out again and again, the weirder side effect of high costs is that much of the seafood you buy is fake, from salmon dyed to look more like salmon to "crab" meat made out of a compressed slurry of fish chunks. So on top of everything else, you now have the problem of worrying if the $200 swordfish you just ordered is really authentic Australian swordfish or if it's just turkey from Walmart that's been marinated in saltwater.
This thing is 100 percent authentic sword.
That's why all around the world, people are starting to perform DNA testing on various forms of seafood to ensure that you, the snobby consumer who insists that your food be a certain species or whatever, get what you pay for.
Knowing that the cost of your meal would likely triple if they tried to swab every single fish in the sea, plans are in place to perform DNA testing on samples of fish from various boat loads to ensure that what they say they are delivering is actually what they're delivering. With almost 170,000 species in the DNA database so far, scientists at the Barcode of Life Database are well under way with talks with high-end restaurants to arrange for DNA certification, because we now live in a world where that is the only way to know if what we're putting into our mouths is actually food.
"If only this contained half as much fish and came served in a hot dog."
If you're like most of our readers, you have almost infinite money lying around, and your primary concern is whether or not your expensive beauty products are doing everything they claim. Well step back from the ledge, friends, because for just $695, Dermagenetics will test your DNA and then mix you some special face goop. For example, if they find variations in the gene that influences collagen production, they add ingredients that, uh, make your collagen stronger, or something.
Three weeks later, she was the Thing.
Don't worry, though; it doesn't cost you $695 every time you need more. That would be ridiculous! No, refills on products customized from your DNA run from $115 for .05 fluid ounces of Corrective Eye Gelee to $250 for 1 fluid ounce of the DNA Ultracustom Enhanced Repair Serum.
And then you have My DNA Fragrance, a "mystical blend of fragrance notes formulated using your DNA genetic code, which outlines the blueprint for your exclusive fragrance formulation." Well, there's no way that's bullshit.
You're looking at $399.99 worth of mystical fragrance notes.
As usual with personalized DNA products, the company sends you a testing kit, and you send back the mouth swab. A lab processes the sample for your DNA, and that's when it gets murky. Somehow or other, a perfumer takes a look at your DNA blot and translates that into a fragrance.
"This one has the genes of lavender with hints of patchouli, and is destined to die of an exotic brain disease."
The website reassures you that your DNA can't possibly result in a stinky perfume, since DNA is odorless, but just in case you're worried about it, you can always buy perfume based on Marilyn Monroe's DNA. We have no idea how they got Marilyn's DNA (we're going to go with "grave robbing"), but they say they've made a perfume using the same "mystical" process that they use to make all their DNA perfumes. Oh, and My DNA Fragrance was totally offering a cologne based on Michael Jackson's DNA, but it's sadly no longer available.
"Mmm, you smell like death."
Erik Germ writes other things over at HugeFrigginArms.com. You should follow him on Twitter.
For more horrifying things science is allowing us to do, check out 5 Scientific Theories That Will Make Your Head Explode and The 5 Most Mind-Blowingly Huge Machines Built By Science.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out Mathematical Proof That the Media Is Sexist and Bad at Math.