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Last-minute life-scientist gift

Reindeer DNA necklace brings ungulate genomics to the jewelry box.

Charles Choi(cqchoi@nasw.org)

Gift-givers can fit an entire reindeer — or at least its whole genome — in holiday stockings this year, thanks to a Hong Kong biotech firm offering reindeer DNA necklaces.

Hanging from a 40 cm silver chain, the reindeer DNA floats in purple fluid inside a glass vial capped with silver reindeer antlers. "The antlers are of course symbolic of reindeers, but in heraldic terms antlers also signify strength and fortitude and in dream interpretation antlers are meant to signify future happiness," explained DNA-Tech Ltd. marketing manager Billy Chan.

No reindeer are harmed to produce the jewelry, according to Chan. The DNA is extracted from the blood of four adult reindeer by veterinary staff at the Finnish Fisheries and Game Research Institute near the Arctic Circle as part of routine health checks. "We received about five liters of blood. Not from the same animal, of course. That wouldn't be too...

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