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DNA Authenticators: Anti-Counterfeiting Proposed by Philip K. Dick

In his unique 1964 novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Philip K. Dick proposed using genetically unique, counterfeit-proof truffle-skins as money.

Applied DNA Sciences now offers tested security tags that use unique DNA authenticators that can be used as clothing labels, or actually built into a product along with a logo. A strand of DNA from twenty to tens of thousands of base pairs long is synthesized or extracted from a plant genome. This DNA strand is assigned a unique product name, and then is replicated with PCR to produce bulk quantities of pure DNA material. This material can then be mixed with ink for tags or actual use on the product itself; it can even be mixed into pharmaceuticals.

Inspectors can easily test this DNA in real-time in the field using a special test kit with a reverse complement of the DNA tag. Only a perfect match will spark a fluorescent reaction; this reaction authenticates the product for the inspectors.

Read more about it at Fighting Fraud With DNA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/21/2004)

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