It is now possible to create a unique genetic profile from our DNA. A DNA sample can be taken prior to an imminent death and after a death occurs. It should be taken before interment. It is impossible to undertake DNA testing on cremated remains due to the high heat of cremation which destroys it.
DNA contains the entire genetic ‘blueprint’ of an individual. Preserving DNA gives families an opportunity to capture all this information. Genetic uniqueness can be established as well as heritage and genetic family history. Approximately 75% of all known diseases can be traced back to our genetic makeup.
Banking a DNA sample can be helpful in passing genetic make-up to future generations. Banked DNA lasts indefinitely and can be accessed for testing at any time. A wide range of genetic tests are currently available for everything from ancestry testing to disease predisposition testing.
Taking a DNA Sample
There are several organisations who offer DNA typing and banking. A DNA sample of the deceased will be taken according to a pre-set recovery protocol, evaluated, typed, and stored securely in a special container. This can last indefinitely if collected and stored properly and securely in a highly regulated facility. It can help in health and genetic disease diagnosis, or to assess a predisposition to certain diseases among current family members and future descendants.
The genetic sample, taken as a simple swab test, will provide a lasting record of the deceased's genetic health, which family members can use to help with their own health in future. It can help with faster diagnosis and more effective treatment of everything from simple skin disorders to cancer, heart disease, dementia and diabetes. Analysis of the DNA sample could also help with identifying patterns of health risks within families and enable a potential problem to be treated before it is too late. It may also help to estimate the risk of passing conditions to children.
Such valuable information could be useful to prevent and treat diseases and disabilities.
DNA Testing Organisations
Your funeral director should be able to advise on a organisations who can provide DNA testing and banking. Make sure that the selected company follows the Chain of Custody Procedure Guidelines. This ensures that all information related to each specific DNA profile is handled correctly and can be used as medical reference or legal evidence.
DNA testing for Burials at Sea
There has been discussions about making it mandatory for a DNA test to be taken from bodies before they are buried at sea, in order for remains to be more easily identified if they wash up on shore. Currently this is not a legal requirement.
Pet DNA Testing
DNA Testing can also be done on pets.