DNA Makes Handy Flame Retardant

And you thought getting herring sperm on your pants was a bad thing. Scientists in Italy have found that coating cloth with DNA from fish’s sperm reduces flammability. Eureka! DNA is a flame retardant. DNA’s phosphate-laden backbone gives off phosphoric acid when heated, replacing the water molecules in cotton with a fire-repelling residue. Simultaneously, the bases in DNA let out ammonia. Put those together and you get a coating that isn’t fire-friendly. One drawback: DNA isn’t cheap.