DNA Tattoos Are the Final Frontier of Love


The Artists and partners, Virginia Elwood and Stephanie Tamez, got a matching body art made from their DNA. Credit Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

It all began with a floating leg.

Or, to be more specific, an idea that came tattooed on the leg of woman kicking it through the Water in Key Largo, Fla., was seen as clear as day through Patrick Duffy’s diving goggles.  Mr. Duffy, who ran the therapeutic scuba diving program for military veterans with his father, was inspired by this tattoo concept; it was to commemorate her late husband, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action.

“At that moment, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to turn this tattoo into a timeless relic?’” Duffy said. “To have a piece of something she cared about, or maybe something to remember her husband by, in the form off a tattoo?”

Four years later and a handful of dedicated colleagues and around a dozen of patents, Mr. Duffy had come by a solution. A product that he and his partners are hoping that it will deepen the bonds between people and memories – in the most physical and literal way possible – between family members, friends, and loved ones.

It is as biologically intimate as one can get. Everence as a powder like substance that is synthesized from a DNA sample, something that can be collected from the swab of someone’s mouth for cremated ashes, which would contain a few thousand cells which is more than enough. A small vail of Everance can be added two inks that are used by a tattoo artist.

The result: A tattoo that is mixed with the DNA from another human being – or, if you prefer an animal like a cat, the dog, or any other furry friend.

Patrick Duffy
Patrick Duffy

Patrick Duffy

In doing so, Mr. Duffy and Endeavor Life Sciences, his company would she started, is joining ranks of a large list biohackers, artists, technology enthusiasts in the world of biogenetic tattoo artistry. You will be surprised what people mix with their inks –  ash, hair or any other organic matter that comes to mind in tattooing for years.

This practice has been left two underground artists, a subculture that has embedded itself of the dark, self-aware nickname: “morbid ink.” So far it is considered as a symbolic gesture, even the organic materials added into the inks eventually are going to be absorbed into the person’s body.

Some has started to describe the practice as a part of the growing body hacking movement –  Think “Necromancers” meets “Miami Ink” Biohackers are often considered by scientists four they’re more relaxed and more adventurous and their approach to medicine ethically.

In recent years, this practice has been revived, so to speak, buy enthusiasts. Out their there is a DIY crowd, such as Skin46 who is looking for ways to raise money and to kick start a biogenetic tattoo efforts based on hair samples. CGLabs, A Canadian outfit, is by nearing its own method and marketing itself as a DNA preservation (not necessarily by targeting ink stained crowd).

Everence has a different approach. They ask their customers to mail in their DNA samples to the Endeavor’s Labs in Quonest, R.I., where the material will be processed, sterilized, and enclosed inside a PMMA microscopic capsule – a type of Plexiglas that is widely used in medical applications such as dentures, bone cement and cosmetic surgery.

Thanks to this new procedure, instead of losing the DNA into the body, it is not captured permanently and embedded into the Ink tattoo. Mr. Duffy and his research team believes that this creates an even more sustainable bonding experience.

It is a curious pitch emotionally charged when coming from Mr. Duffy. A New York with a background in real estate and a political science degree, started a nonprofit therapeutic scuba diving program for veterans with his father almost 10 years ago. Mr. Duffy said that he was inspired into finding new ways of connecting people together while on outing ones we may have lost.

Everence powder
Everence powder

Everence powder, which can be added to tattoo ink.

A ruby has been given to the worlds of tattoo artistry and biomedical engineering, Mr. Duffy spend go to previous searching for experts in both fields eventually finding some advisors including Dr. Bruce Kiltzman and associate professor of surgery in Duke University, who is in favor of endorsing practice: he says it is as safe as traditional tattoo inks.

Mr. Duffy and Dr. Edith Matthiowitz, professor professor at The center of biomedical engineering at Brown University, manage to patent technology. His main work was focused on discovering what applications polymers like PMMA can inflict on the human body, and she also worked on removable ink tattoo projects.

The FDA consider tattoo inks as cosmetics, where it is a description category designation that Everence will gladly adopt. Historically the FDA had never regulated them although it continues to issue warnings to consumers of the inevitable risks off getting a tattoo, that including infections, allergic reactions, or developing a case of granulomas that is caused by foreign particles in the body.

Mr. Duffy confirms that he has concluded his homework on safety. And, in an interview, Dr. Matthiowitz has noted that the company skanking follow this strict regulations about how cosmetics should be created as outlined by the FDA.

Mr. Duffy has located a partner in Virginia Elwood, the 2nd artist at the age of 37 from Brooklyn. Immediately was impressed by the idea as soon as Mr. Duffy pitched it to her over email. Their meeting was a stroke of destiny:  Mr. Duffy’s email was sent to her junk mail, and opened it by mistake after she saw he was the actor from the TV series step-by-step 1990.

The situation was different, Ms. Elwood, became fond on his idea. As she is sharing a matching tattoo with her partner Stephanie Tamez each of them to other’s Everence inked In. Ms. Elwood is also planning on getting a tattoo from Everence containing the DNA of her mother who died years ago from cancer.

Elwood at Saved Tattoo
Elwood at Saved Tattoo

Ms. Elwood at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. Credit Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

“We are attached to many things in this world right now, either through social media or uploading photos into the cloud and I find that sometimes to be hollow personally.” Miss Elwood said. “So instead of uploading pictures that is precious to me into the server, I carry it on my body, and my skin.”

Miss Elwood, Mr. Duffy and their third partners Boyd Rener, has also manage to gain the support of dozens of top artists like Scott Sylvia, Valerie Vargas and Mike Rubendall, all who are ready to promote Everence to their following crowd on social media. Such high names in the tattoo world is not an easy task, considering the importance of this issue that is taking place.

It’s not going to be fast or cheap piece of tattoo posted on the wall at the lesser tattoo parlor on a Friday night. Everence Will cost around $650 dollars which will include the kit, the process of creating the powder, and eventually returning it to the client around a month later A service at this price will delivere a permanent product that can become a part of the customer for the rest of her Life. The company take limited amount of three orders to try and measure demand where payment plans are available for those who cannot afford to pay it all at the same time.

Mr. Duffy has for seen the future of the possibilities which is good to extend beyond tattoos and might include paintings and textile, and other items that can resonate emotionally with the client. To him the point is to continue developing that idea it came to him in the shape of a tattoo leg a year ago.

This procedure not meant as a drug delivery system, and it’s not designed to augment the body,” said Mr. Duffy who himself has a half-sleeve aren’t up to that is embedded with Everence from his daughter, which depicts smattering black birds in flight. “It is about emotions.”  “It’s not meant to deliver a drug, and it’s not meant to augment the body,” said Mr. Duffy, whose half-sleeved arm contains Everence from his daughter, tattooed into a smattering of black birds in flight. “It’s about the emotion.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here