This Artist's DNA Could Be Yours for the Right Price

'An extremely personal self portrait'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2015 12:46 PM CDT
This Artist's DNA Could Be Yours for the Right Price
Artist Jeroen van Loon has his blood drawn as he prepares to sell his DNA to the highest bidder.   (Jeroen van Loon)

A 29-year-old Dutch artist is selling what he calls "an extremely personal self portrait." How extremely personal? Let's just say it's everything that makes him him—genetically speaking. Jeroen van Loon has made his entire DNA sequence available to the highest bidder as part of a project looking at the ethical and financial concerns that arise when our genetic data becomes a commodity, Fusion reports. Anyone is free to visit van Loon's and bid on—as he puts it—380 gigabytes of his personal data. With 331 days left, the current bid stands at a little over $350. “Since DNA technology is something that will become very influential, I thought it would be interesting to sell my DNA data, just to see what kind of questions it would trigger," van Loon tells Fusion.

Van Loon says the project—which also includes a data server storing and displaying his DNA at an art gallery—scared him at first, as your DNA doesn't just belong to you, but your entire familial bloodline, Fusion reports. In the end, he decided the questions and answers it might stir up would be worth it. “My first reaction to his project was indeed a moral dilemma: what abuse can opportunists put his genome to, shouldn’t it be protected, he should claim copyright, claim authorship," quotes the gallery's curator. Van Loon isn't the only one who sees DNA eventually becoming a commodity. "If you’ve got DNA that’s special in some way, you might have a resource on your hands that researchers want to tap—and there’s a lot of value in that," Fusion writes. (More DNA stories.)

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