For years banks have rigged bags of money with exploding dye packs, which show the cash was stolen and mark the thief. Now DNA can do the same job — without the suspect being aware of it.
This isn’t using the criminal’s own DNA to track him or her — it’s engineered, artificial gene sequences that act like bar codes. They can be applied to goods or people to uniquely identify them, and be made to glow under certain kinds of light or be read by swabbing them and reading the sequence chemically.
DNA marking is already being used on objects for tracking by law enforcement agencies in the United States and the U.K.
The latest version of the technology comes from Stony Brook, N.Y.-based Applied DNA Sciences. It’s called “DNA Fog.” The device fills a room with smoke to confuse an intruder. The smoke isn’t just to make it hard for the person to see; it also contains droplets loaded with DNA. If the person escapes, they are still covered with it, and it’s invisible.