LONDON — If you think you see Madonna or Nelson Mandela walking down the street, better look twice.
A San Francisco company is offering the chance to copyright DNA, warning the rich and famous that fans may be eager to clone them.
In theory, all that is needed to clone a celebrity is a few living cells, perhaps left on a glass or passed on by a handshake.
The company, DNA Copyright Institute (DCI), is offering to record DNA, check its authenticity, and store it - all for $1,500.
Clients can protect their DNA pattern "from misappropriation and copyright infringement," says the firm's website.
But it may not be quite that simple.
Law professor Stephen Barnett of the University of California, Berkeley, says the idea that people "author" their own DNA does not stand up legally.
DCI lawyer Matthew Marca disagrees. He says that since clones would share the fingerprint of the original person, they would be in violation of copyright.