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DNA mixed into paintings
Genetic science meets art in a unique exhibition of paintings in Oxford.
For the first time, the DNA of the people depicted on canvas has been physically incorporated into the paint.
And at the exhibition at Oxford University's Wolfson College, members of the public will get the chance to have their DNA tested.
The exhibition, called The Seven Daughters of Eve, was commissioned by Prof Bryan Sykes, the head of Human Genetics at Oxford University. He also leads Oxford Ancestors, a company started by himself and the university.
The Seven Daughters of Eve were the first direct female ancestors of the vast majority of modern Europeans - identified using the DNA of an iceman found frozen in the Alps. Prof Sykes discovered through his research that all Europeans' DNA is based on seven women.
He tested DNA from 1,000 people from all over Europe and has since tested a further 50,000 to confirm his findings.
Prof Sykes synthesised the DNA in a laboratory and, using a complex process, incorporated it into the paint used by the Danish artist Ulla Plougmand-Turner. It took six months and a series of trials before it proved effective.
He said: "The exhibition is the first of a number of DNA-meets-art initiatives I am planning. In the near future members of the public will be able to mimic the process behind the Seven Daughters exhibition by commissioning portraits with their own individual DNA sequences incorporated within the canvas.
"This will enable future generations to obtain the exact DNA of their ancestors by using the paint used in their forebear's picture. It is a unique exhibition, emphasizing the connection between past and present, art and science.
"I am not sure what the public will think as nothing like this has been done before. People will be able to buy prints of paintings and will get a free print if they want to get their DNA tested at the exhibition."
The Seven Daughters of Eve exhibition continues at Wolfson College, Oxford, until June 22.