DNA testing and genetic modification are not new, but what is interesting is that a series of designers are looking to explore the ethics of this in a rash of projects coupled with advancements in DNA sequencing. Researchers have recently developed a technique that uses genetic analysis to create a computer composite of what the person looks like. In an article in the New Scientist, the team captured images of 600 volunteers across ethnic backgrounds to build up a link between genes affects on facial structure based on sex and race. New Scientist had one of their writers volunteer their DNA with very accurate results. Commenting on issues surrounding privacy and ownership of DNA Artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo has created a DNA vending machine that dispenses human genetic material. The DNA Vending Machine replaces snacks with samples of peoples genetic code which can then be bought.
Also driven by a social comment on a patent granted in 2013 that would allow a gene perfecting system for future parents to control the characteristics of their children, Ben Landau showed his First Gift Blanket during Dutch Design week last year.
A modern take on the heirloom blanket to be passed from generation to generation the blanket has interwoven into it familial DNA sequencing putting into question the value of our personal data. Alongside the blanket he also asked visitors to donate their DNA for sequence testing.