News-Releases Index | Applied DNA Sciences
New Study: DNA Molecular Tagging is an Effective Tool to Authenticate Denim, One of the Toughest Fabrics (11/5/18)
Results of a new study published in the September/October 2018 issue of the AATCC Review
confirmed that DNA molecular tagging is an effective tool to authenticate denim and maintains its
integrity even after exposed to the rigors of bleaching and abrasion.
The study was conducted by: Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (“Applied DNA,” “the Company,” NASDAQ:
APDN), and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). It was published in the AATCC Review, a highly
regarded publication of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colors.
At the FIT labs in New York, denim swatches were treated with unique DNA molecular tags produced
by Applied DNA, then subjected to stone and bleach washings. The samples were then analyzed at
Applied DNA’s laboratories in Stony Brook, where it was proven that the DNA tags remained intact and
suitable for high quality forensic scale analysis. Based on the observed stability, DNA tags of this kind
may soon be ready for testing at a full manufacturing facility to verify the authenticity of the finished
"This technology will enable brands and manufacturers to track their fibers from the farm through to
the finished product, allowing for a more transparent supply chain. Traceability can also help verify
certain sustainability claims about commodities and products, helping ensure good practices and
respect for people and the environment in supply chains," Sean Cormier, FIT Assistant Professor,
Textile Development and Manufacturing.
“A denim fabric was chosen because it is a unique product, distinguished by its washed styles and
distressed look,” said Dr. James A. Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences. “Denim
jeans are typically exposed to a stone and bleach wash, which is the harshest type of treatment made
to any apparel product. If we could identify our DNA markers after this type of wash, we believe any
cotton product could be identified at any stage in the supply chain.”
Applied DNA has developed a technology to produce small DNA fragments or identifiers on an
industrial scale. Purified enzymes are used to manufacture DNA fragments, each one containing
enough information to be used as a DNA-bead or “molecular bar code,” much like an ordinary ink bar
code on a label. DNA tags are applied during the cotton ginning phase, enabling the fiber to be tracked
and authenticated throughout the entire supply chain.
There has been a lack of commercially available test methods to determine where denim fibers were
grown. This is a concern to manufacturers, as global counterfeiting continues to escalate – rising from
USD $1.2 trillion in 2017 to an anticipated USD $1.82 trillion by 2020 (Global Brand Counterfeiting
Report 2018). The denim authentication problem is significant since most American cotton, including
Upland cotton used to produce denim, is shipped overseas and combined with other cotton where it
can lose its identity.
“The denim study has opened the door to a world of possibilities,” Hayward added. “These results
suggest that it is now possible to assign several unique DNA molecular tags to any cotton product,
regardless of finish. Future projects will tag cotton intended for denim use, as well as other premium
fibers such as wool, cashmere, as well as man-made fibers like viscose, nylon, recycled polyester and
also bio-based fibers and recycled materials,” he explained.
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