04AprPersonal Genome Card

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The future of human identification

Daniel Gross and Joris Maltha visualization designers at Catalog Tree conceived a personal genome card, a tribute to Gattaca where a genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one!

ADN 2 Design for a personal DNA card, commissioned by SEED magazine, New York. A fingerprint is generated from the 13 core loci as used by the FBI for human identification. In collaboration with Lutz Issler (line script).

Anticipating a future in which we can learn to read our genome like a book, Seed commissioned Catalogtree to design a Personal Genome Card: a place where an individual’s genetic information could be easily referenced. To use Catalogtree’s card, the bearer would speak into a small microphone and ask a yes-or-no question. The card would analyze the remotely stored genome to come up with an answer. It would then change color: Red signifies a pure “yes,” yellow means “no,” and colors in between show varying levels of uncertainty. As we get better at interpreting the human genome, Catalogtree notes, more questions will be answered with a higher degree of confidence.

ADNThe front of the card bears a unique visual pattern derived from the 13 chromosomal loci, or chromosomal positions, used in genetic profiling. The profiling process exploits short tandem repeats — variations in the number of times a short sequence of base pairs is repeated in a person’s DNA. Two unrelated humans usually have a different number of repeats at a given locus. This structure is translated to a series of circles; different diameters are used for different bases. The circles are dropped into a container, and a line is drawn through their centers, creating an individualized drawing on every card. Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure


  1. Gravatar Icon 1 Chris Grayson15 Apr 2008

    Oh, ha, I was catching on my feed-reader, I just got to this story. I guess I needn’t recommend…


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