DNA Molecular Tags for Personal Care Supply Chain Certainty

The global supply chain that sustains life is now filled with complexity, uncertainty and deception — in a time where consumers demand transparency more than ever.

The personal care supply chain is supported by a paper trail of questionnaires based on trust. But even well-audited paper trails can fail to prevent mistakes, misunderstandings, and fraud.

SigNature DNA is a unique molecular tag that allows materials to be traced throughout the supply chain. When applied to raw ingredients, these tags will be detectable in the final product, deterring counterfeiters and strengthening product claims. SigNature DNA can be applied to labels and packaging, as well as raw ingredients.

Supply Chain Certainty

  • Identify raw materials at any stage in the supply chain, including outside contractors and contract manufacturers
  • Control diversion of products to unauthorized channels
  • Provide forensic evidence for IP lawyers when fine fragrances are “reverse-engineered”
  • Substantiate label claims (ethically sourced, organic, sustainable, etc)
  • Quickly resolve complaints about the fragrance/odor of a product by tagging each fragrance batch
Close up of Pink and Yellow Plumeria Blossoms.

Creating a SigNature DNA Tag

SigNature DNA tags are short (<200 nucleotides) lengths of double stranded botanical DNA. These tags are included in formulas at minute levels and are compatible with a wide variety of carriers. SigNature DNA tags are custom designed for the specific needs of each customer.

  1. Plant-based DNA is acquired

  2. DNA is segmented and encrypted

  3. Segments are shuffled and reassembled to form a unique, secure SigNature DNA marker


SigNature DNA molecular tags have been classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA. Cosmetics and toiletries, especially those containing botanical extracts, will typically contain DNA. Our botanically-derived DNA tags are not GMO, and cannot be taken into a living cell and translated, and the addition of SigNature DNA to personal products will not pose any impact to performance or safety.

50 mL serum DNA content Unit
Double strand DNA 95.8 ng
Single strand DNA 5632.5 ng
Total 5728.3 ng
5.73 µg

We analyzed a high-end skin care serum and found that it contained just under 6 µg/g of naturally-occurring DNA.

Analysis conducted August 2016, Applied DNA Sciences Laboratory. Stony Brook, NY.

Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI: DNA – CAS No 9007-49-2)
DNA is allowed as a cosmetic ingredient as DNA, Hydrolyzed DNA, Hydrolyzed Sodium DNA, Calcium DNA, Cobalt DNA, Cysteine DNA, Histidine DNA, Magnesium DNA, Lysine DNA. – see EU CosIng Database. Cosmetic active ingredients are usually included at around 1% w/w, which is a trillion times more than the levels of SigNature® DNA is being used to follow the cotton supply chain, proving scale-up is not a problem.

Pharma Ingredient
DNA is allowed in pharma as Physical Identifier (PCID), up to 150mg per dose, which is a billion times more DNA than SigNature DNA used in formulas.

Contact us for more information

Barbara Brockway, Ph.D.
Director, Personal Care