Thanks to technology, being a criminal just got that much harder. Just as stolen money can be rigged with exploding dye packs, Applied DNA Sciences has developed a mist called smartDNA that can be used to covertly spray criminals during illegal activities, such as a break-in, so that they can be later identified by police.
The DNA in the mist spray consists of artificially engineered gene sequences that act like bar codes. As a single strand of DNA with 20 base pairs in the mist can have over a trillion unique combinations, no two mists would be alike. Every tagging device would have its own unique sequence. Once sprayed, the DNA molecules attach onto a perpetrator’s clothing, shoes, hair and skin, as well as any stolen objects. The water-resistant genetic material is very difficult to wash off and lasts about two weeks.
Should a suspect be arrested, police would swab them and then read the sample using a process called polymerase chain reaction. This amplifies the genetic material, making it easy to spot. The overall process is inexpensive enough that even non-specialists could oversee it. As DNA evidence generally stands up well in court, criminals caught with traces of the mist could be prosecuted based on what the crime scene left on them.
The Applied DNA Sciences spray is already being successfully used in Sweden and has begun to be rolled out to businesses in the U.S.