: How is it possible to make 3D Portraits From DNA Found on Chewing Gum, Cigarette Filters

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Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a talented information artist behind this awesome project “stranger visions” which created a series of portraits from the DNA collected from some biomaterials found on streets like chewing gums, cigarette heads, drinking cups and fallen hair of the people.

source: [https://knovhov.com/3d-portraits-from-dna/](https://knovhov.com/3d-portraits-from-dna/)

In: Biology
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Also anxiously awaiting an answer from someone who knows. The article mentioned facial recognition and construction software, so I wonder if it only works if you have your dna info linked to a database of facial recognition data?

Your DNA is a blueprint to build you. All you need to look for is known segments of DNA that code for certain things. Obviously it’s a lot more complicated than this and I highly doubt we’re at the point where we can ACTUALLY build someone’s face accurately just from looking at their genetics, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t be possible. If you know what segment codes for eye color AND all the possible variants (knowing only what segment codes for eye color doesn’t tell you WHAT color it’s coding for), then you should be able to identify the eye color of the person who that DNA belonged to. In theory, the same goes for lip thickness, nose prominence, cheek bones, etc.

But again, we’re really not at the point where we can accurately recreate someone’s face from their DNA. This is just art. We need much, MUCH more data to learn how most of our genes express themselves, as well as the effects of our environment on gene expression. Knowing someone’s genetics isn’t necessarily going to tell you if they have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can massively impact someone’s facial shape.

>After the analysis of the DNA, the main physical factors like Gender & ethnicity and many other factors are found and generating a much accurate portrait by a 3D printer using the experiments of face recognition and using face generating software.

Basically it used the DNA to try to determine broad categories like gender (very easy), ethnicity (easy-ish), and some other factors (questionable) to create a very rough profile of the person’s demographics, then used software that generates faces based off of broad parameters. It is likely extremely inaccurate.

At closest, if you took some gum chewed by a male of 50% german 50% french background with blue eyes and black hair, you’d generate a portrait of a roughly german-french looking male with blue eyes and black hair. Everything else would be a random guess.

I could be wrong but I ran along this a while ago I came away with the impression that basically she faked it. she had a technique and guess and checked her own face but I don’t think she actually verified any of the other faces she made besides her own. I thought the contest was about envisioning the future I’m sure you can id people based of there DNA but I’m not aware of tech that would reproduce a face from some.