People hoping to remember deceased loved ones with something more permanent than a lock of hair or faded photo can now have a piece of their DNA saved in a pendant.
Eiwa Industry Co. recently began selling pendants for preserving genetic mementos of the dead.
The company, which mainly manufactures decorative metal fixtures for houses, entered the DNA pendant business last August with a line of products for saving the DNA of bygone pets. Quickly, the company started receiving requests for pendants for human DNA, said general manager Morihito Ikai.
"Bereaved parents would contact us and say, `If you can save a piece of a dog or cat's DNA, why not some of my daughter's?'" he said.
The human DNA pendants come in two shapes. One resembles a rounded perfume bottle. The other is shaped like a stylized human face, cut in such a way that it can fit together with a second pendant of the same shape — "for couples," Ikai said.
Made of silver, the pendants are $428, including the cost of extracting DNA — usually from a strand of hair or piece of fingernail. The genetic material is placed in a crystal, which in turn is enclosed in the pendant.
While the perceived permanence of a DNA sample is one of the product's attractions, Ikai said some customers also seem to be hoping to hold on to genetic material in case it becomes possible to clone human beings.