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Crime-Fighting Synthetic DNA

On their way out of a shop or restaurant, thieves in Rotterdam may be sprayed with a fine mist that marks them with synthetic DNA as suspects, reports the New York Times. The mist is employee-activated and not only showers the suspects with store-specific synthetic DNA, but also alerts the authorities to the robbery-in-progress. Rotterdam police say that they haven't arrested anyone based on this security system, but they think it acts as a deterrent, as the stores have signs warning would-be robbers that they'd be marked and because many people don't understand DNA. "No one really knows what it is," says Donald van der Laan, whose company sells the system. "No one really knows how it works."