BOISE, Idaho (CNN) — Let’s face it, no one wants to think about that last big decision, you know … burial or cremation.
But more and more people are choosing cremation which has, in part, given rise to a new service at your local funeral home.
“The ability to take post mortem DNA and have that stored for a family can be very valuable,” said Cheryl Godbout of Cloverdale Funeral Home.
For about $300, a service called DNA Memorial can preserve a loved one’s DNA in a tiny vial for years to come.
You can even get the vial incorporated into a stylish glass keepsake.
“We’ve had very good response to it and there’s a lot of interest in the DNA now,” Godbout said.
According to the flyer, DNA memorial can calculate inherited disease risks for children and future generations.
“If they want to test it, they can for anything from ancestry to diseases to different genetic things that might be going on,” Godbout said.
Of course, each actual test costs an additional fee of several hundred dollars, so is it really worth it? We came to Boise State University to ask their pre-eminent D-N-A expert Greg Hampikian what he thinks.
“I don’t really see the informational benefit of getting a swab at death.
You have a copy of your own DNA walking around with you,” said Greg Hampikian, a geneticist at Boise State University.
If you’re concerned about your own health or future generations, Hampikian says swab yourself.
“It”ll tell you everything you need to know about your own health,” Hampikian said.
But what about storage? How long will the DNA last if you swab your own cheek, or your parents, and put it back in the sealed container?
“I’ve seen DNA last 40 years at least,” Hampikian said. “I’m sure it’s good way beyond that. But there are lot of things people sell to preserve DNA, it’s not necessary.”
So, in the end, Hampikian says there’s not much scientific benefit. But if you just like having your loved one close to you, and many do, a keepsake may be the way to go. At least it’s a lot more personal than a swab package.