Banking your Memories with DNA Memorial Keepsakes

by M-Gillies
Display of DNA Memorial process

Just as DNA is a blueprint containing all the information about a person, by banking DNA you are further immortalizing your loved ones and maintaining a DNA record of your family tree, which can help verify a family’s predisposition to inherited medical conditions.

“Families are built on tradition, but it is their DNA that truly makes them one.” – DNA Memorial

DNA, it’s a complex chemical that carries the hereditary make-up of almost all other organisms. It acts as a blueprint of who a person is, can genetically link us to our families and has the ability of predetermining inherited medical conditions within a person. However, more importantly, DNA is a kind of link to immortality. It is through DNA that a portion of it is transmitted to an offspring, furthering the continuity from one generation to the next, all while allowing for slight changes to contribute to the diversity of life.

With DNA being as monumental as it is in the evolutionary standards of individuals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one company has taken steps to preserving the DNA of our loved ones for generations to come.

DNA Memorial, you may have heard of them. They were recently showcased on the CBC show, Dragons Den, where accredited forensic DNA scientist Ryan Lehto pitched the concept of the company to the show’s Dragons. What Lehto pitched was a company that extracts, stores, purifies, markets and sells DNA as memorial mementos through funeral homes.

While the concept of selling memorial mementos has long been a staple within the funeral industry with urns, jewelry, picture frames, sculptures and even diamonds, whether it be storing or using cremated remains, none have ever offered actual DNA as a keepsake until now.

Known as DNA Memorial, the company, located in Thunder Bay, Canada is a subdivision of CG Labs Inc., which specializes in the science of DNA recovery. In 2012, DNA Memorial was incorporated, but its conception began as inspiration, observed by the increase in genetic diseases being discovered, and the realization of the importance of maintaining a genetic record for future generations.

What followed after, was a breakthrough for both CG Labs and DNA Memorial when they discovered a method of binding DNA to a substrate.

As president of CG Labs, Neal Esau explains, “(We) developed a method of long term DNA storage that can be maintained safely and reliably within room temperature. While long-term DNA storage procedures usually involve maintaining the samples at ultra-low temperatures of around -85 degrees Celsius, our sample is stabilized at room temperature, allowing it to be included into a wide variety of keepsakes or products, while keeping all the information it contains viable.”

The benefits are significant. While cremation will destroy all viable genetic coding, storing a loved one’s DNA will allow a family the ability to preserve DNA. This option can prove beneficial in assisting with disease prevention, allowing the study of the source of cancers and other diseases that may run in a family; be used in personalized medicines; assist in creating a 21st Century family tree and aiding the discovering of new opportunities in ancestry testing and genealogy; and further determining identification, and preventing DNA degradation.

Since DNA Memorial’s appearance on Dragons Den, the company’s exposure has risen dramatically. Upon their first appearance they already had six different funeral homes signed up for their service, since then, they now have over 100 funeral homes across Canada and the United States affiliated with their services.

“The funeral home response has been extraordinary for an industry that is traditionally slow to embrace new technologies,” said Esau. “This number grows every day and we are thrilled to add more funeral homes to the DNA Memorial family.

So how does a funeral home become affiliated with DNA Memorials? It’s a simple process. “All the funeral home has to do is contact us either by phone or email, and make a request for information packages and sample kits at no cost to the funeral home,” said Esau.

When the funeral home receives their package, they’ll find a supply of sampling kits, sampling instructions, a display pendant, information catalogues for distribution to families, informative DVDs, CG Labs’ banking agreements and a Certificate of Analysis for display purposes.

What this does for a funeral home is offer them a brand new revenue stream that helps them cater to the needs and wants in an increasingly competitive business. With the rate of cremation growing more prevalent, alternative revenue sources are required for the funeral industry to offset the decline in traditional services.

As of recently, many companies in the industry have done this by offering memorial keepsakes such as miniature urns holding cremated remains to be distributed amongst family members to jewelry that is crafted using cremated remains.

“(What DNA Memorial offers) is a natural progression from saving ashes, which have no inherent value beyond the sentimental to saving our DNA, which contains the person’s entire blueprint,” explained Esau.

In keeping with the memorial keepsake progression, DNA Memorial offers everything from their line of DNA Memorial Pendants, Living Memorial, DNA Capsules, DNA Mantle Displays and even DNA Portraits, as well as DNA Banking.

“As a direct result of our appearance on Dragon’s Den, we have now employed several regional salesmen as well as marketed ourselves and our products to an international market.”

But that doesn’t mean they don’t expect copycat companies to emerge as the market grows. In fact, as DNA continues to grow in popularity within the mainstream culture, DNA Memorial continues to cement themselves as the most trusted and well known industry professional, and further hopes to spearhead the education of DNA banking to the general public and the funeral industry in the years to come.

“This is the next evolution for the funeral industry as the public is already embracing the concept,” said Esau.

While DNA Memorial does focus their services to humans, they also see the potential growth in pet DNA and are offering the same services as DNA Memorial through their trademark subdivision, Pet DNA Memorial.

“Our pets are family members also,” Esau said, “and they deserve the same remembrance as our human loved ones.”

In the meantime,  CG Labs continue to grow, and as Esau pointed out, we could be seeing much more from the company in the months to come.

“We have another episode of Dragons Den airing next season with a few big surprises, as well as a documentary about us and our innovations. CG Labs and DNA Memorial are on the forefront of DNA banking and we plan to continue expanding our business relations throughout North America and around the globe.”

To learn more about DNA Memorial and how they can work with you, visit them at or at

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