US20040163412A1 - Piece of jewelry bearing a genetic fingerprint - Google Patents

Piece of jewelry bearing a genetic fingerprint Download PDF

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Publication number
US20040163412A1
US20040163412A1 US10/451,651 US45165104A US2004163412A1 US 20040163412 A1 US20040163412 A1 US 20040163412A1 US 45165104 A US45165104 A US 45165104A US 2004163412 A1 US2004163412 A1 US 2004163412A1
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characterized
decoration object
genetic
individual
decoration
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Abandoned
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US10/451,651
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Alexander Olek
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Alexander Olek
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Priority to DE10065089 priority Critical
Priority to DE2000165089 priority patent/DE10065089A1/en
Application filed by Alexander Olek filed Critical Alexander Olek
Priority to PCT/DE2001/004963 priority patent/WO2002049474A2/en
Publication of US20040163412A1 publication Critical patent/US20040163412A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A44HABERDASHERY; JEWELLERY
    • A44CJEWELLERY; BRACELETS; OTHER PERSONAL ADORNMENTS; COINS
    • A44C9/00Finger-rings
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A44HABERDASHERY; JEWELLERY
    • A44CJEWELLERY; BRACELETS; OTHER PERSONAL ADORNMENTS; COINS
    • A44C5/00Bracelets; Wrist-watch straps; Fastenings for bracelets or wrist-watch straps
    • A44C5/0007Bracelets specially adapted for other functions or with means for attaching other articles
    • A44C5/0015Bracelets specially adapted for other functions or with means for attaching other articles providing information, e.g. bracelets with calendars

Abstract

Described are decoration objects, that are intended to be worn by an individual and characterized in that they carry genetic information about the individual wearing the decoration object, or about a different individual. In a preferred embodiment these decoration objects are wedding rings or engagement rings.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention is related to marking jewelry with genetic fingerprints of individuals. [0001]
  • STATE OF THE ART
  • For establishing the classical genetic fingerprints, the whole DNA of an individual, in one or more of the possible types, is divided into smaller fragments, typically by means of a so-called restriction endonuclease. These fragments are separated according to the lengths of the fragments using gel electrophoresis. Within many of the resulting fragments there are so-called repeats, repetitions of one and the same base sequence, and the number of repetitions varies between different individuals. A labelled probe composed of a DNA sequence that is complementary to the repeat can be hybridized and simultaneously the length of many of such repeats can be visualized. The resulting pattern is with very high likelihood unique for each human being. As the length measurements of the different pieces of DNA are only relative (within one separation), in each of such experiments so-called standards have to be used that provide for the comparability—and thus also the actual uniqueness—of the [genetic] fingerprint. [0002]
  • The variant of the genetic fingerprint that is preferred today is the [analysis of] so-called microsatellites. These also are comprised of repeats of either two or four bases (the most common type is the CACACACA repeat), and the number of repetitions per repeat can vary. [0003]
  • The genetic markers, each single one of which can be present in more than only two variants, are defined by the unique DNA sequences flanking them on both sides. [0004]
  • The biggest advantage of these markers is, that in world-wide sets of experiments a defined set of such markers was established and is now accepted internationally. Also, one has agreed on one [commonly] accepted number and letter code, that sufficiently describes the information [contained in] the individual markers. [0005]
  • The future method to determine the identity will probably be the detection of single variable base exchanges of the human DNA. Statistically, about every 100 or 1000 bases (the exact frequency is still unknown and not important in this context) within the human genome there is one position, at which there is the one base in a part of the [human] population, but in another part of the population another base is located at the same position. If such a variability is very small (only the by far smallest part of the population has the one base, while in the vast majority there is the other one), this is classically referred to as a mutation. With a certain distribution of the bases that are possible at a given position being more equal, this is referred to as a polymorphism or SNP. One can now calculate that in an analysis of an individual, starting from a certain number of such SNP positions, the sum of identities at the analysed positions will yield a unequivocal description of said individual. There are hundred-thousands of such SNPs in the human genome and today people world-wide have not yet agreed on a combination that would be generally valid for all such analyses. There is also no accepted addressing system for SNPs in the human genome (besides the description of the actual sequence context), and some ten positions would have to be used for the unequivocal description of an individual. As soon as a standard set of such markers will exist, however, there is no doubt that there will also be an internationally accepted number or letter code (or any other encoding). Possibly the characterisation of SNPs for the unambiguous determination of identity will also be the method of choice in the future. [0006]
  • Typically, when decoration objects, ornaments or other luxury goods are exchanged or a present is made, the relationship between the donating person and the person receiving the gift is of primary importance, opposite to many other types of objects, that may be given as presents. But also the unambiguous labelling of objects (in own possession) in a highly individual, but appealing manner is forever since an existing topic, be it because if individualism or just securing property reasons or a combination of both. [0007]
  • Especially when wedding rings are exchanged, such a labelling is customary, and they normally carry the name or the given name of the partner, and possibly the wedding date. Today almost all members of the western societies increasingly appreciate an exceptional and individual touch in all very personal affairs, including the exchange of wedding rings or or similar decoration objects which is again a special case thereof. The individuality of a ring itself can only be gradually influenced, mainly however though the price, in the form of the chosen materials of the brand names of jeweller or a jewellery chain. This method for the distinction of the decoration objects from the presents of an unknown person is not possible for most persons alone because of their limited spending capacity. Additionally, even if there is a tailor made decoration object made from most distinguished materials is chosen, the donating person is mostly less linked to the decoration object than wanted by most individuals. [0008]
  • The closest state of the art to this invention is considered to be U.S. Pat. No. 4,993,472, that describes the imprinting of fingerprints of individuals onto decoration objects. It is to be considered here, however, that it is usually not possible to place a full fingerprint of an individual for example on the surface of a wedding ring. It is a general problem, that the space on the inner side of a wedding ring is mostly extremely limited, and an unlimited amount of information about the identity of the donating person cannot be made. [0009]
  • Ideally, many brides and grooms for example would like to demonstrate an extensive exchange of their most personal domains. Therefore, for the gravure of a wedding ring only stampings or imprints can be chosen that are not changeable, are linked in an inseparable manner to a person and have not been donated from others before. Not even gravures displaying an American Social Security Number fulfil all these criteria, although the exchange of this number that is inseparably linked to the people living in the USA has certainly already been implemented. Also a combination of surname and given name, date of birth etc would seem to be to bureaucratic because of the amount of the data, to prevail in practice. [0010]
  • OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
  • The underlying problem that is solved by this invention is, that it corresponds to the needs of many people, to identify themselves or other persons in a unique manner on decoration objects. This occurs, for example, on wedding rings, typically in a way that their initials or full names are used. However, because of only the name it is usually impossible to identify the owner of such a ring. Also, may combinations of given names and surnames are very abundant, thus the identification of the owner of such an decoration object is only possible with substantial efforts. Often, if the names are common, it is not possible with reasonable efforts to identify the owner. Especially for expensive decoration objects, however, there is considerable demand [to be able to do so]. [0011]
  • Adding to this practical problem is the increasing individuality needs in today's society as described above. For the reasons mentioned, this demand is not always sufficiently met by applying the name to the decoration object. [0012]
  • DESCRIPTION
  • In the following we describe one favourable and some more technical solutions to the problem described above. The solution is the attachment of a sum of data points derived from the genome (the DNA) to the decoration object (for example, engraved into a wedding ring), that are, taken together, that unique, that with highest probability there is no other individual existing world-wide who would have the exact same combination of data points. [0013]
  • The invention solves the problem by way of employing genetic fingerprints for the identification of individuals on decoration objects, as in principle known in the art. For this purpose, the genetic fingerprints are encoded and printed, for example, into a wedding ring. This does not only allow for the instant identification of the rightful owner, but also they are naturally highly individual. Depending on the effort, it is also possible with the highest possible security to determine, that the respective genetic fingerprint is world-wide unique. [0014]
  • Additionally the stamping allows for a certain theft protection, as the original owner of the decoration object can be re-identified any time, unless the decoration object had been altered or the unique signature had been removed. Such identification features are known from other high priced devices, like for example motorized vehicles. [0015]
  • Subject of this invention is a decoration object, that is intended to be worn by an individual, carrying genetic information about an individual. In a particularly preferred embodiment the decoration object carries the genetic fingerprint of the individual rightfully wearing it. It can, however, also be the genetic fingerprint of a different individual. This is especially the case if decoration objects are exchanged between two individuals. It is especially preferred that the decoration objects are a ring, a wedding ring, an engagement ring, a friendship ring, a bracelet, a medallion, an bracelet or a combination thereof. [0016]
  • Subject of this invention is also a set of decoration objects. The decoration objects carry the genetic fingerprints of at least two individuals, and they are characterized in that the respective decoration object that is determined to be worn by an individual contains the genetic fingerprint of the respective other individual. It is also possible and preferred, that the decoration objects as a component of a set of at least two decoration objects each carry the genetic fingerprints of two individuals. In this respect, a set of wedding rings, engagement rings or friendship rings is particularly preferred. [0017]
  • Subject of this invention is further an decoration object that contains the genetic fingerprints of the parents of an individual. In this respect, it is particularly preferred that the decoration object is a plate, mug, cutlery or insignia or any other decoration object that is customary as a baptism related present. [0018]
  • As the underlying information for the genetic fingerprints microsatellite markers, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or other genetic markers that are useful for the unambiguous identification of individuals are possible. According to present knowledge in particular microsatellite markers and in the future also single nucleotide polymorphisms are especially useful and therefore preferred. [0019]
  • The oldest, maybe also best known form of a sum of data points, that are suitable for the printing on decoration objects, is the classical genetic fingerprint. In this case, the whole DNA of an individual, in one or more of the possible types, is divided into smaller subfragments, typically by means of a so-called restriction endonuclease. These fragments are separated according to the lengths of the fragments using gel electrophoresis. Within many of the resulting fragments there are so-called repeats, repetitions of one and the same base sequence, the number of which varies between different individuals. A labelled probe composed of a DNA sequence that is complementary to the repeat can be hybridized and simultaneously the length of many of such repeats can be visualized. The resulting pattern is with very high likelihood unique for each human being. [0020]
  • Such a pattern (or an excerpt of it that is sufficient accurately describing the individual) can now be imprinted or engraved into a ring, for example, in a graphical format. Because the length measurement of the different DNA fragments is only relative (within one such separation), however, in each of such experiments so-called standards have to be used that provide for the comparability—and thus also the actual uniqueness—of the [genetic] fingerprint. To enable a fingerprint describing an individual accurately, it may therefore be required to also to attach such a standard to, for example, a ring. [0021]
  • In case the sum of the relative distances (lengths) of the DNA fragments only characterizes the individual unambiguously, at least the challenge concerning the technical precision is that severe, that these minimal differences are reproduced. This is an extremely difficult undertaking in that also the size of the gravure shall vary. Thus, the attachment of a classical genetic fingerprint to a wedding ring, for example, is a possible, but not the favoured solution to the problem to be solved. [0022]
  • The future method to determine the identity will probably be the detection of single variable base exchanges of the human DNA. Statistically, about every 100 or 1000 bases (the exact frequency is still unknown and not important in this context) within the human genome there is one position, at which there is the one base in a part of the [human] population, while in another part of the population another base is located at the same position. If such a variability is very small (only the by far smallest part of the population has the one base, while in the vast majority there is the other one), this is classically referred to as a mutation. With a certain distribution of the bases that are possible at a given position being more equal, this is referred to as a polymorphism or SNP. [0023]
  • For purposes of the present invention, the most suitable polymorphism with two possible bases at a given position is the one with both bases each being present in exactly one half of the population. [0024]
  • One can now calculate that in an analysis of an individual, starting from a certain number of such SNP positions, the sum of identities at the analysed positions will yield an unambiguous description of said individual. There are hundred thousands of such SNPs in the human genome and today people word-wide have not yet agreed on a combination [of these], that would be generally valid for all such analyses. As there is also no accepted addressing system for SNPs in the human genome (besides the description of the actual sequence context), and some ten positions would have to be used for the unambiguous description of an individual, a realistic display in an appealing but unambiguously readable form is still technically hard to implement on the limited surface of an decoration object, for example a wedding ring. [0025]
  • As soon as a standard set of such markers will exist, however, there is no doubt that there will also be an internationally accepted number- or letter code (or any other encoding), that then will also be useable as an appealing gravure. Possibly the characterisation of SNPs for the unambiguous determination of identity will also be the method of choice in the future and therefore will be employed also for the gravure or stamping of jewellery or other gifts. [0026]
  • Is the variability of the DNA not based on an exchange of a single base by another one (or, at most, by the three other possible ones), but on the exchange of several contiguous bases at the same position in the genome or the loss of the insertion of bases in only some individuals, the prediction concerning the identity is the same, but technical feasibility of the analysis will be more complicated. There is no agreement about a possible, unique addressing of such markers, but such a procedure is still to be considered part of this invention. [0027]
  • It is however a possible variant of the invention, and this of course applies to all the mentioned methods of engraving, that the giving persons prefer not to leave gravures that are clearly readable for all unauthorized people. In the opposite, for many people it will sufficient to know (to fulfil their individualism needs) that the pattern was derived from their genome in a unique manner. It is also possible that the person would want an identification of his identity to be absolutely impossible based on the gravure, but that it can be distinguished from the identity of another person any time, if only the method for the generation of the genetic fingerprint was known. It is also possible that [the identification of] a person, the fingerprint of whom in the form of a gravure characterized an object is only possible by means of a code that is stored at a confidential location. For a SNP diagram, for example, the bases could be engraved, the identity of the positions in the genome, however (for example by way of the sequence context) could be deposited at a notary, a bank, the laboratory producing the fingerprint or even at the jeweller. Of course, it is also conceivable to encode the sequence context by means of a cryptographic algorithm and storage on a chip or a separate computer. It is however more likely that in the future a high amount of medical data will be story centrally or in a distributed way, thus also the sequence contexts of the SNPs used for the fingerprint or generally the identity of other genetic markers could be stored relying the given confidentiality in this case. The spectrum of possibilities for the storage of such information is practically unlimited today. It however assumed that the form of storage of information does pertain to the major subject of the invention and that this invention will therefore include also other forms of the transfer and storage of important information in this context. [0028]
  • The encoding of the fingerprints (regardless of the technical method used, be it in a standardized or discrete form) is preferably converted into an especially appealing format, individually or as a limited edition or even a mass product by an artisan or graphically skilled person (or a similarly acting designer, jeweller or similar). Certainly the simple number or letter code, that already exists for microsatellites and that will likely be available for SNPs soon, will not be the preferred format for the gravure for a decoration object. In the opposite, the value and the individuality and thus the exclusivity of a such labelled present could be significantly enhanced by the conversion of such number or letter codes into appealing patterns by well known artisans. This way a well known artisan could, by manufacturing a unique pattern (it is not relevant in each of the variants whether the absolute information is readable for each and every person, or whether the used encoding procedure—as the graphical representation could be an encoding variant as well—remains discretely in the possession or availability of a limited circle of persons or, is deposited confidentially or even is destroyed), create extreme values in the form of single objects that are world-wide, in several respects, unique. Also limited editions that—for example are contracted by jewellery chains to known artists or designers or could be established on their own—are sold in larger series, could still satisfy the mentioned individuality need and even could emphasize the individuality aspect. [0029]
  • It is possible and of course within the scope of the invention to introduce standards for the labelling of decoration objects, or even the introduction of a standard encoding system, that generally protects the objects by labelling with an own genetic fingerprint, this identity however is only readable under defined conditions (or even by law) for other persons. [0030]
  • In principle, even an absolutely secure signature for the labelling of objects could be created this way. [0031]
  • The described methods are the three important, but not the only ones to derive an individual gravure or imprint for decoration objects or other presents or even for the labelling of own property. We would like to emphasize that these are only the most likely examples for such a labelling. Any possible way to retrieve information out of the human genome (also, for example, expression patterns in a particular cell type or protein expression patterns or other highly individual parameters) and to attach this information in the form of a engraving, imprint or print for the labelling of presents, in particular wedding rings, but also generally properties, is meant to be within the scope of the present invention. Also the different ways to attach a unambiguous genetic description of an individual to an object, is of low importance with respect to the spirit of this invention. These embodiments include prints, imprints, gravures, reliefs, paintings, 3 dimensional work, millings, bore holes or any other methods to attach signs to materials. But also the facets of a jewel could in this context, using (open or discrete) standards take over the role of an encoding of a genetic fingerprint. [0032]
  • Also the kind of the material in this context is not relevant for the spirit of this invention. In principle, even not very durable presents or gifts like, for example, pralines with genetic fingerprints are conceivable and are a good [technical] solution for the permanent problem of finding an individualized present. [0033]
  • But it essentially is in the spirit of the invention that as durable materials as possible are equipped with a durable labelling. Certainly, gold, white gold or platinum would be most frequently used for wedding rings, but also a gravure or jewel would be possible. For example, at the higher end the facets of a diamond could describe a genetic marker each. [0034]
  • Normally the genetic fingerprints that are established today, are not optimized towards a compact display that would be suitable for smaller decoration objects. Particularly preferred is the display of the genetic fingerprints in the form of a letter and/or syllable and/or word and/or number combinations or as relief, in the form of tables or abstract art. [0035]
  • The variant of the genetic fingerprint that is preferred today is the [analysis of] so-called microsatellites. These also are comprised of repeats of either two or four bases (the most common type is the CACACACA repeat), and the number of repetitions per repeat can vary. [0036]
  • The genetic markers, each single one of which can be present in more than only two variants, are defined by the unique DNA sequences flanking them on both sides. As there are multiple variants of each of the markers, the prediction power of each marker about the identity of an individual is much higher, as the one of a particular SNP alone. The biggest advantage of these markers is, that in world-wide sets of experiments a defined set of such markers was established and is now accepted internationally. Also, one has agreed on one [commonly] accepted number and letter code, that sufficiently describes the information [contained in] the individual markers. It is therefore very simple to display in a well-defined way the either eight or twelve used markers by means of a gravure, even be it as a graphically little appealing numbering code. [0037]
  • In a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the genetic information attached to the decoration object is encoded. [0038]
  • For persons which prefer an unrestricted readability and high individuality at an acceptable price, these markers in an open (standard encoded) form are the gravure or imprint variant of choice. Persons that prefer an encoded uniqueness, can now choose any procedure, simple (for example by exchange of the order of the letters or numbers), or complicated (by use of cryptography), to confound the unambiguous readability. Of course also a complete anonymization by destruction of the code is again possible. [0039]
  • In a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the genetic information attached to the decoration object can be used with a more than 99% confidence for the identification of the individual the information is derived from. [0040]
  • There are also cases where the identification of a person is already, for example via a chain worn by them, an essential function of the same, like it is the case with soldiers. It is assumed for one embodiment of the invention, that the use of genetic fingerprint as proposed here can also be equivalently employed for such purposes. In another preferred embodiment of the invention the major function of the decoration object is not to be decorative, but the possibility to identify the individual wearing the decoration object. [0041]
  • Further embodiments could in the future include such genetic markers into the engraving, that describe special personal properties of the donating or the person to which a present was made. So it seems possible to attach the blood type, eye or hair colours, in the form of genetic markers to a piece of property, decoration object or present. [0042]
  • Subject of this invention is also a method for the attachment of genetic information to an decoration object and to the retrieval of the same. Mainly, this method shall ensure that the genetic information that is attached to the decoration object cannot be immediately used by unauthorized persons. [0043]
  • In the first step, as generally known to the person skilled in the art, the genetic information is retrieved from samples derived from said individuals. [0044]
  • In the second step the genetic information is encoded, and the key to said code is stored at a person or an institution, that is not authorized to distribute the key without consent of a circle of persons that has previously been determined. Usually, only the individual himself or close relatives will belong to this circle. [0045]
  • In the third step of the method the encoded information is attached to the decoration object. This can be conducted either in the form of a letter and/or syllable and/or word and/or number combinations, or as reliefs, in a table format or in an artificially abstract manner, with different techniques like imprinting, engraving or etching. [0046]
  • In the last step of the method, in case the genetic information is required for identification, the information is derived from the information on the decoration object and from the key made available by said person or institution in case of a justified interest. [0047]

Claims (12)

1. Decoration object that is determined to be worn by an individual, characterized in that it carries information about another individual, and characterized in that the decoration object is a ring, a wedding ring, a engagement ring, a friendship ring, a chain, a medallion, a bracelet or combinations thereof.
2. Set of devices according to claim 1, characterized in that the devices carry the genetic fingerprint of a least two individuals, whereas the decoration object, that is determined to be worn by a particular individual, that contains the genetic fingerprint of the respective other individual and characterized in that the decoration object is a wedding ring, a engagement ring or a friendship ring.
3. Decoration object, characterized in that it contains the genetic fingerprints of the parents of an individual.
4. Decoration object according to claim 3, characterized in that it is an mug, a plate, cutlery, insignia or another decoration object that is customary as a birth present.
5. Decoration object according to claim 3, characterized in that it is a mug, a plate, cutlery, badge or another decoration object that is customary as a baptism related present.
6. Decoration object according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the genetic fingerprint of the individual is based on microsatellite markers, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or other genetic markers that are useful for the unambiguous identification of individuals.
7. Decoration object according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the genetic fingerprints are displayed in the form of letter and/or syllable and/or word and/or number combinations, that correspond to the respective standards in Genetics, or as reliefs, in the form of tables or abstract art.
8. Decoration object according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the genetic information displayed on it is encoded.
9. Decoration object according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the genetic information can be used with a more than 99% confidence for the identification of the individual the information is derived from.
10. Decoration object according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the major function is not decoration, but the possibility for identification.
11. Method to attach genetic information to an decoration object and to retrieve the same from it, characterized in that the following steps are carried out:
a) the genetic information is obtained from samples taken from said individuals;
b) the genetic information is encoded, and the key to this code is stored at a person or an institution, that is not allowed to pass on this key without authorization by a group of persons previously determined;
c) the encoded information is attached to the decoration object
d) in case, that the genetic information is required for identification, it is retrieved from the (encoded) information on the decoration object and the key provided by said person or institution in case of qualified interest.
12. Method according to claim 11, characterized in that the attachment of the genetic information to the device is conducted in the form of letters and/or syllables and/or word and/or number combinations, that correspond to the respective standards in Genetics, or as reliefs, in the form of tables or abstract art.
US10/451,651 2000-12-21 2001-12-21 Piece of jewelry bearing a genetic fingerprint Abandoned US20040163412A1 (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
DE10065089 2000-12-21
DE2000165089 DE10065089A1 (en) 2000-12-21 2000-12-21 An ornament with genetic fingerprint
PCT/DE2001/004963 WO2002049474A2 (en) 2000-12-21 2001-12-21 Piece of jewelry bearing a genetic fingerprint

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EP (1) EP1345508A2 (en)
AU (1) AU3571502A (en)
DE (1) DE10065089A1 (en)
WO (1) WO2002049474A2 (en)

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WO2002049474A2 (en) 2002-06-27

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