When you’re planning a loved one’s funeral, you might want to think about storing their DNA.

There is a growing trend in the United States for funeral directors to offer DNA banking alongside their traditional services. A sample is taken from the deceased person’s cheek using a swab and relatives are then given a glass vial containing their DNA and a certificate.

Family members can then choose to make the DNA into a memento like a piece of jewellery if they want to. But companies offering this service say there is also a practical purpose to storing people’s DNA after death.

Jennifer Parks, from McDermott-Crockett & Associates Mortuary in Santa Barbara told the Santa Barbara Independent: “Studying the preserved DNA could reveal genetic links to certain diseases or gene mutations, information that could be crucial to the prevention of inherited illnesses.”

Could help resolve paternity disputes

The samples could also be used to resolve any paternity disputes which could potentially arise after someone’s death.

Although the practice is becoming popular in the United States, it has only been introduced by a handful of funeral homes in the UK so far.

Storing people’s DNA in this way was made possible by a group of scientists in Canada who found a way samples could be preserved for hundreds of years without the need for refrigeration.

However, you don’t have to wait until death to get your genetic profile documented or even turn your DNA into a work of art.

AlphaBiolabs offers a single genetic profile test which will document your DNA profile. Some people use this to create a unique piece of artwork which they can display in their home.

However, there is also a more serious purpose to the test. People working in dangerous professions can have the test to make it easier for authorities to identify their body if they are killed in the course of their work.