Scientists create mugshots using DNA

DNA testing is already used to help identify criminals at the scene of a crime, but now scientists are able to create mugshots using DNA alone.

Could a single strand of hair give a scientist enough information to create a picture of your face? A team of researchers are claiming to have discovered a way to do just that in a new study published earlier this week. Scientists from Penn State and the Catholic University of Leuven began by making a model for mapping out facial structures using gender, race, and genetic markers, reports New Scientist .

The team enlisted the help of 600 volunteers, all of which were mixed European and West African. They took 3D images of the volunteer’s faces, and then created a large mesh to determine how racial and gender genes impact a person’s face. Volunteers were also tested for genetic variants that could lead to different facial abnormalities, leaving the researches with 20 definite genetic variants that connect to specific facial shapes. Though the system is not yet fool-proof, the science is already being used to help solve rape cases in Pennsylvania.

Aside from identifying criminals, the FBI is hoping the DNA mugshots will help identify skeletal remains in unsolved murder cases, as well as give a picture of human’s ancestors.

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