Originally created 01/26/01

NFL using DNA to authenticate game balls



TAMPA, Fla. -- Science meets the Super Bowl on Sunday, when the NFL tags each of the 120 game balls with a strand of synthetic DNA to try to deter counterfeiters.

The FBI estimates 70-80 percent of sports memorabilia is fake. The DNA stamp is part of a four-tier security system used to authenticate the footballs.

"We wanted something covert, something that would force a counterfeiter to go to extremes to get around our authentication efforts," said Dave Gioia, vice president of the parent company of PSADNA Authentication Services.

Gioia said each mark of DNA contains a tagging of chemically synthesized DNA that includes four codes unique to the company, then a sequence of markers that leave a counterfeiter with a 1-in-33 trillion chance of reproducing it.