Frequently asked questions.
Select a question from the list (below) for more information.

1. What am I?

2. So what is DNA?

3. How does my own 'one off' designer label DNA become my own 'one off' DesigNA™?

4. Will it hurt?

5. How many samples can be on a DesigNA™ or work of art?

6. Why is a consent form needed?

7. What if a sample donor is under 16?

8. What is Parental Responsibility?

9. How long does a DesigNA™ test take and how can I check on its progress?

10. Who will have access to your samples?

11. How am I sure the samples will not be mixed up?

12. Can our DNA profiles be used for paternity testing?

13. How do I contact you?

14. Who are Complement Genomics?

What am I?
Unique for a start! Many complex ingredients make you what you are, from your heart, brain and other organs to the colour of your eyes and hair, the symmetry of your face, your consciousness and your emotions…they all contribute to make YOU a unique marvel of creation. Moulded by your environment, YOU are a product of your genes. So what are your "genes" and how does it all work? In your body each organ is made up of tiny compartments which are too small to see with the naked eye. These units, known as cells, are common to all living organisms. There are millions of millions (trillions!) of cells in your body which are grouped according to the wide range of different jobs they perform. Basically, each cell has two compartments, an outer package which does most of the work and an inner package called a nucleus, which contains the book of instructions. These instructions are in the form of a code and which is the same in every cell of your body. To attain different functions, different pieces of the code are used at any one point in time in each cell. This remarkable code is deoxyribonucleic acid, which is more commonly known as DNA.

So what is DNA?
Each DNA molecule carries a four letter code (A, G, C, and T ) which represent the chemicals they are derived from. In humans, each cell contains three thousand million pieces of this code, which determines how the cell will function. Around 5% of the code in the cell is used to determine what the cell does (these are your genes) with the remainder being of unknown function ("mystery" DNA). However, this does not mean that this DNA is not useful! Chunks of the mystery DNA (up to 10 items of code in length) are repeated many times in series and hence, these chunks are called short tandem repeats.

Each of us has a unique set of short tandem repeats, derived half from mum and half from dad. This unique "designer label" can be used to distinguish you from millions of other people and by using our own unique service, we transform this into a beautiful visual form, which is YOUR unique DesigNA™ product.

How does my own 'one off' designer label DNA become my own 'one off' DesigNA™ item?
Your DNA has already produced the unique art form that YOU see in the mirror every day. And now you can see your individuality in YOUR OWN genetic profile using a unique coloured bar code!

We use the 'mystery' DNA to produce your unique genetic fingerprint, or DNA profile, by searching for small sequence repeats which are found in each and every one of us. By using advanced laboratory techniques, we make sure that we have enough DNA by "photocopying" the relevant sections.

We then analyse the DNA by using state of the art machinery and sophisticated computer programmes which enable us to produce a series of coloured peaks which identify you from millions of other people. Then, using a series of bespoke techniques, we transform this information into a coloured barcode which is used to produce the ultimate "one of one" and totally unique DesigNA™ or Work of Art! The end result is a gift which really is inimitably you!

How many samples can be on a DesigNA™ or Work of Art?
We can do individuals, couples, children, whole families, groups of friends or any combination. Popular options are for parents, grandparents, christenings, birthdays etc. The DesigNA™ or Work of Art you choose is up to you, although some of our art forms are more amenable to multiple DNA profiles than others. If you are in any doubt, please call us to discuss your requirements, colour schemes etc. You will find we are flexible and eager to please!

Will it hurt?
Not at all. The sample will be taken by gently rubbing a soft brush around the inside of the mouth. Full instructions will be included with your DesigNA™ kit. The procedure is simple and painless.

Why is a consent form needed?
We request that each person providing their bodily sample for a DesigNA™ test give their consent to do so, so that the nature and purpose of the test is absolutely clear.

We believe that YOUR genetic material is yours and that no-one should have access to it or any information contained within it, without your express written and informed consent.

We ask for your consent to make it clear that we work on your behalf. We do not at any point take ownership of your DNA sample or DNA profile or assume any rights over it. However, any intellectual property in for example the designs used to make your DesigNA™ product belong to Complement Genomics Ltd.

When we send you or your designated sampler the testing kit, we will include consent forms for each party to be tested (which you will have indicated on the contact us form or to us by telephone).You should be aware that it is a serious offence punishable by imprisonment to personate another person for the purpose of providing a bodily sample or to proffer the wrong child for that purpose.

What if a sample donor is under 16?
For a child who is under sixteen, the person with parental responsibility for that child should give their permission for the DesigNA™ test to be carried out. A place for this person to sign regarding consent is indicated on the form which we provide with the kit.

What is Parental Responsibility?
Parental responsibility means that the person concerned has all of the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that a parent of a child has by law*. Where a child's parents were married to each other at the time of the child's birth, each parent will have parental responsibility for the child. However, if a child's parents are not married to each other, the mother shall automatically have parental responsibility over the child. The father will not be able to claim parental responsibility unless he acquires it by:

obtaining a court order
registering a legally written agreement subject to the mother's consent
marriage to the child's mother
being granted a residence order
People other than parents may acquire parental responsibility by appointment as a guardian or by an order of the court. The person with parental responsibility should if possible explain to the child the nature and purpose of the DesigNA™ test. As defined in the Children Act 1989.

How long does a DesigNA™ test take and how can I check its progress?
From the time we receive the samples from you, the production of your DesigNA™ will take around 30 working days (6 weeks) depending upon the gift in question. Works of art may take longer. We will keep you informed of progress if for some reason there will be a delay. We can give an indication of where your sample(s) is/are in the system if you telephone us and give us the case reference number. Postage and packaging is not included in the purchase price.

Who will have access to your samples?
Your DNA samples will not be released to any third party and will remain your property. The holding company of DesigNA™ is Complement Genomics Ltd, which is registered under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. Three months after sending your DesigNA™ or Work of Art to you, the DNA sample will be destroyed. Paper records are kept for one year and are then destroyed. Specifically, we DO NOT provide information to insurance companies or to authorised bodies (such as the police) for inclusion in databases.

How sure am I that the samples have not been mixed up?
We have in place BS EN ISO 9001:2000 accreditation and a sample tracking and auditing procedure. We use all reasonable precautions to make sure your samples cannot be mixed up. Our quality system has several checks and double checks which should give you re-assurance as to our quality system. In addition, we retest a random selection of samples to make sure of our accuracy.

Can your DNA profile be used for paternity testing?
Whilst the DNA profile data we derive from your DNA is very similar to that used for paternity testing, we do not recommend its use for this purpose. Paternity testing requires complete statistical analysis by trained operatives and this is NOT provided with the DesigNA™ service. If paternity testing is an issue for you, you are recommended to visit our website, or to use the freephone 0808 145 5789.

How do I contact you?

Our freephone number is: 0808 143 0361

You can write to us at: DesigNA™,
c/o Complement Genomics Ltd,
Unit 128, Biosciences Centre,
Business & Innovation Centre,
Wearfield, Sunderland, SR5 2TA, UK

Or you can e-mail us at:

Our telephone lines will be open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and an answering machine will be available outside of these times. Please leave your name and telephone number and a convenient time to call you; we will then return your call.

Who are Complement Genomics?
Complement Genomics are the providers of the DesigNA™ tests. They are a well reputed company which specialize in genetic testing and also does research into diseases and conditions which may have a genetic cause. More information can be found on their website at

They are also a leading company in the field of paternity testing, details of which can be found at

A standard dadcheck paternity test proves with 100% accuracy if a man is not the father of a child and alternatively, a standard dadcheck test proves that he is the father of a child with 99.99% certainty. You can contact this service on freephone 0808 145 5789.

Complement Genomics also provides a unique DNA storage service, for you and your family to preserve your heritage for future generations. This is useful for resolution of inheritance issues, for analysis of genetic disorders and for making an archive of the genetic material of your family. This service can be found at or you can speak to us on freephone 0808 145 5790.