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Pass On The Snacks, A DNA Vending Machine Now Exists

Put your money in the box, leave with someone else's DNA.

by Emerson Rosenthal
06 March 2014, 10:00pm

Gabe Barcia-Colombo samples his very own DNA. 

When it comes to vending machines, we consider ourselves connoisseurs: our site has run the vending machine gamut, from clowns to emotions. One video artist is taking the tried and true formula of "dispensing things out of a large metal thing-dispenser" and taking it to a whole new level: your DNA. 

In his TED talk, "My DNA Vending Machine," published only hours ago, artist and TED Fellow Gabriel Barcia-Colombo discusses what happened when he discovered a technique that enlarges DNA. With a little help from some very trusting friends, he decided he not only wanted to see individual DNA strands, but vend them. Check out the Talk below:

The artist ponders, "When biotechnology and DNA sequencing become as cheap as, say, laser-cutting or 3D printing, or buying caviar from a vending machine, will you still submit your sample to be part of the vending machine? And how much would these samples be worth? Will you buy someone else's sample? And what will you be able to do with that sample?" 

What to do with DNA? We've got a few ideas already

As the original TED Talk was given in August 2013, details about where to find Barcia-Colombo's vending machines, and the available remaining samples, are sparse. But Barcia-Colombo has since premiered another TED Talk called, "Capturing Memories in Video Art," which you can watch here, so you can bet it won't be long until you can buy your very own box of someone else's DNA.  

As always, you can bet that when we find out where the goods are, you'll be the first to know. Until then, keep your friends close, and your DNA even closer.

vending machines
TED talks
Genome sequencing
bio art
gabriel barcia-colombo