This is a DNA Vending Machine.

Each of those little vials holds human DNA, with a collectible photo of the person who donated it. You can buy it just like you’d buy a Coke or a bag of chips, and then you can do…whatever. (What do you actually do with a sample of DNA?) 

TED Fellow Gabe Barcia-Colombo created the vending machine as an art installation. He gathered a bunch of his friends on Friday nights and taught them how to extract their own DNA — the weirdest/coolest dinner party idea of all time. (In the photos above, the floating white stuff is the DNA.) Then, with their permission, he sold it. 

Of course, there’s a bigger question behind all this: Who owns your DNA? And what should strangers or scientists be able to do with yours? Gabe wants to push people to think about the ethical and legal questions we’ll have to answer as access to biotechnology increases.   

What do you think, would you be willing to sell your DNA?

Watch the full talk here »

Jane Dorn