It is a common practice to plant a tree in the memory of someone who has passed on. As the tree grows with life, so do the memories.
A new way for memorializing those who have passed away goes one step beyond planting a tree and combines art, ecology and genetics by storing a persons DNA within a living plant!
Biopresence is a project which plans to “encode a human’s DNA underneath the DNA of a plant cell, without affecting the resulting tree genetically or visually in any way. As a result, the person’s DNA will live on as an integral part of the tree. These new kind of trees can be seen as ‘Memorials for Life’ or as ‘Transgenic Tombstones’.”
The creators of Biopresence, Shiho Fukuhara and Georg Tremmel emphasize that their procedure does not result in a genetically-modified organism (GMO). Their method, which comes from collaborating artist/scientist Joe Davis’s DNA Manifold Algorithm, allows human genetic information to be stored without affecting the genes of the tree.
It’s an interesting combination of sciences which may offer a “physical essence of the human body” and a potential alternative for memorializing and remembering the people we have lost.
The website http://www.biopresence.com does not offer examples or practical applications of this idea, perhaps they are still experimenting….