Martin Mathy


The project DNA COVER is aimed for hacking the evidently disappearing line between the surveillance of suspects and a mass surveillance through data mining. Every person permanently leaves his/her DNA-trace, which can be used for identification purposes and for establishing a profile of behavior. The mixture, available as an aerosol spray, is prepared using the processed pooled genetic material from volunteers of diverse ethnic origin. Finally, it blurs the respective identities by means of the overlay with a vast mass of genetic information.

DNA COVER /  human genetic material mixture


The project DNA COVER consists of two parts:

Up to this point DNA COVER contains DNA of 100 people of diverse origin. Subsequently volunteers are asked to take a swab in their oral cavity to add their inherited material to the pool.

Aerosol spray, DNA-fingerprint relevant DNA-fragments of the pool, 125 mL

The ID BLUR technology provides the opportunity to perceive the right of privacy and informational self- determination. The concept DNA COVER focuses on the cycle of using technological methods to ensure opposing interests of the society and opens a new round through DNA-hacking.

Outline of the production process

Retrieval of cells and DNA extraction
After taking an oral swab, the portion coated with sample is removed and added to 5mL of phosphate-buffered saline and vortexed for 20s at maximum speed. After the removal of the swab and centrifugation at 19000rpm the supernatant is removed and the pellet resuspended in 2mL of Chelex 100, 5% in Tris-buffer 10mM (ph9.5) using the ultrasonic bath for 2min. Now the 100 samples are pooled and processed together Short centrifugation is followed by heating to 105°C for 20min to release the genetic material.

After cooling down, the supernatant is used.

Amplification of the DNA
Primers corresponding to all microsatellites that are relevant in european forensic methodology plus thermally stable DNA-polymerase, the 4 nucleotides and MgCl2 are added. Amplification is accomplished during 30 cycles (94°C/1min – 65°C/1min – 72°C/1min) followed by clean up using a commercial available PCR-clean-up-kit.

Stabilization of DNA – Encapsulation inside degradable vesicles
A double emulsion solvent-evaporation method was used and is presented in brief. The aqueous DNA-solution is added to

Poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid in CH2Cl2 and emulsified vigorously, polyvinyl alcohol is added and again, emulsified

(second emulsion). The resulting mixture is poured into a polyvinyl alcohol/sucrose mixture of lower concentration with subsequent stirring of the mixture at room temperature to evaporate the dichloromethane. Centrifugation is deployed for the isolation of the microspheres, the product is washed three times with distilled water and resuspended in phosphate-buffered saline (pH 7.4). Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with ethidium bromide detection was used for determining the required final concentration utilizing successive dilution and real samples. The ready-to-use product is filled in aerosol spray cans.

copyright © Martin Mathy

The project was made in cooperation with Steffen Strassnig