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I’ve Just Seen a (DNA-Generated) Face

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posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 12:55 PM
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I remember reading about this about 5 years ago, and it was amazing! Check it out!!





Predictions of what people look like using a DNA analysis tool compared with photos of the actual people.


The faces here, which look a bit like video game avatars, are actually portraits drawn from DNA.

Each rendering was created by plugging an individual genetic profile into a predictive tool created by Mark D. Shriver, a professor of anthropology and genetics at Penn State University. Dr. Shriver and his colleagues have studied the ways that genes influence facial development.

Their software yields an image in a matter of minutes, rapidly drawing connections beween genetic markers and points on the face. In less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, a sketch emerges inferred solely from DNA.

How accurate or useful are these predictions? That is something that Dr. Shriver is still researching – and that experts are still debating. Andrew Pollack writes about the issues in an article on genetic sleuthing in Science Times.

On The New York Times’s science desk, we wondered whether it would be possible to identify our colleagues based on the formula that Dr. Shriver has developed. So we tried a somewhat unscientific experiment.


We asked New York Times employees if they could identify their colleagues based on these DNA renderings, explaining that these were not adjusted for age.


John Markoff, a reporter, and Catherine Spangler, a video journalist, each volunteered to share their genetic profile, downloaded from 23andMe, a consumer DNA-testing company. The files we sent to Dr. Shriver did not include their names or any information about their height, weight or age.

Dr. Shriver processed the genotype data and sent us renderings of the donors’ faces.

We distributed the images to colleagues via email and a private Facebook group, and asked them if they could identify these individuals. We told them that because age and weight could not be determined from DNA, the person might be older or younger, heavier or lighter than the image suggested. At least a dozen people immediately responded that they could not guess because the images felt too generic. Among the 50 or so people who did venture guesses, none identified the man as Mr. Markoff, who is 65.

The man who received the most votes was Andrew Ross Sorkin, a business columnist and editor of Dealbook. A number of other possibilities were suggested, too — mostly white men who work on the science desk.


The correct answer -- that no one guessed -- was John Markoff. New York Times employees were shown the face, top right. Dr. Shriver's team later adjusted for age and height and the bottom right image emerged.


When it came to the computer’s DNA portrait of Ms. Spangler, 31, staffers had more luck. About 10 people correctly identified her.

Although there was no close second, participants put forth the names of nearly 10 other women. About half of them were of European ancestry, half of Asian ancestry.

To build his model, Dr. Shriver measured 7,000 three-dimensional coordinates on the face and analyzed their links to thousands of genetic variants. Though sex and ancestral mix are not the only predictor of face shape in this model, they are the primary influencers — something that has raised concerns about the potential for racial profiling.


About ten employees correctly guessed Catherine Spangler. Employees were shown the top right image. The face, bottom right, was adjusted for age, weight and height.


Ms. Spangler’s ancestry is half Korean and half northern European. Mr. Markoff’s is almost entirely Ashkenazi Jewish, with a tenth of a percent Asian, according to his 23andMe analysis.

Using DNA portraiture, would every male or female with these genetic percentages wind up looking exactly the same? Dr. Shriver says no.

“People with same ancestry levels can come out looking different,” he said. But just how different — and how much like the actual flesh-and blood-person — is something he and his team are still testing.


www.nytimes.com... 19773522000&_r=0

edit on 24-2-2015 by IndependentOpinion because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:04 PM
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Wow, this technology is really, really impressive.

When will we start seeing the faces of historical persons? I wanna see Cleopatra, don't really know if they've got samples of her DNA though.

Amazing stuff!

S&F



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:20 PM
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I have to admit that I'm not a visual person, so I never would have linked the people with their composite pictures. I looked for more details, like the square-ish bottom lip on one girl and a deeper groove in the philtrum. I did notice that the jawline of the female reporter was spot on though. Altogether fascinating, but Dare I say there's a lot more to be done in this science?



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:22 PM
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a reply to: aboutface

This project do still have a long way to go, yes, but his is still a breakthrough in science!!



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:34 PM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

Amazing,yet potentialy terrifying in terms of future evolution of the technology.
One step closer to the singularity,and a big step closer at that.
Real time mind reading/telepathy is not far away.

When computers can meld with our DNA,we really are entering the realms of the sci fi future.

Question is-will it be a Utopia or a Distopia?




posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:37 PM
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I came in here to say, I always look at DNA generated faces! But its way cooler than a joke. I just imagine the worst though, like parents seeing their potential child and changing their minds



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 01:39 PM
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So the opening of Fallout 3 will be a reality then..nice



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 02:15 PM
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Maybe its just me, but I'm not seeing the correlations that well. Maybe its that life alters us, aging and stress add a dimension the computer doesn't factor in.



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 02:18 PM
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I can see it now...

*WAAHH!!* My baby's gonna be ugly as sin!

Eventually with DNA manipulation there will be a distinct class of rich, genetically superior super-humans. Us poor people will be more akin to "small batch, 100% organic grown produce".



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 02:21 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr
Maybe its just me, but I'm not seeing the correlations that well. Maybe its that life alters us, aging and stress add a dimension the computer doesn't factor in.


Renditions so amorphously similar, they could be used to ID an innocent twin in some horrific crime, without recourse to reality (on the strength of the rendition alone)...frighteningly unimpressive...

Å99



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 02:26 PM
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originally posted by: TheLaughingGod

When will we start seeing the faces of historical persons? I wanna see Cleopatra, don't really know if they've got samples of her DNA though.


Just so ya know, Cleopatra was known for her intelligence, wit, charm, and supposedly sexual talents.

Looks wise, not so much. Apparently, there is a reference to her as "dogface".

But, yeah would be really fascinating to see some historical figures brought to life by this method.



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 04:39 PM
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So, what about the Elephant Man's DNA?
How does that work?



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 04:49 PM
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a reply to: Annee

Thanks for the heads up, had not heard of her being referred to as a dogface.

What about Helen of Troy... daughter of Zeus, the face that launched a thousand ships. That would be interesting.

Trying to think of someone else but my mind is drawing a blank.



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 06:37 PM
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originally posted by: akushla99

originally posted by: intrptr
Maybe its just me, but I'm not seeing the correlations that well. Maybe its that life alters us, aging and stress add a dimension the computer doesn't factor in.


Renditions so amorphously similar, they could be used to ID an innocent twin in some horrific crime, without recourse to reality (on the strength of the rendition alone)...frighteningly unimpressive...

Å99

i dated twins once. In the beginning they took advantage using the similarity to deceptive ends, which I didn't mind so much….

Twins know how to use their "gift" to advantage.

As far as doubles, they are stand ins for world leaders, theres lots of them.



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 06:57 PM
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a reply to: intrptr

With an identical twin, you can be at twice the places...and "awake" and doing something 24/7. If I had an identical twin that's what we'd do -- we'd pretend to be the same person. People would wonder if I ever slept, and how I could travel from place to place so quickly.



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 07:57 PM
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Or maybe if you had only had hte dna of the criminal but no record of it then you could generate a face maybe.

Gotta be uses for it other than entertainment.
edit on 24-2-2015 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 08:17 PM
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originally posted by: intrptr

originally posted by: akushla99

originally posted by: intrptr
Maybe its just me, but I'm not seeing the correlations that well. Maybe its that life alters us, aging and stress add a dimension the computer doesn't factor in.


Renditions so amorphously similar, they could be used to ID an innocent twin in some horrific crime, without recourse to reality (on the strength of the rendition alone)...frighteningly unimpressive...

Å99


i dated twins once. In the beginning they took advantage using the similarity to deceptive ends, which I didn't mind so much….

Twins know how to use their "gift" to advantage.

As far as doubles, they are stand ins for world leaders, theres lots of them.


I dated twins at the same time :/

The DNA 'photofit' (while I do find it interesting) seems rife with nefarious possibility...and having been involved in the art 'industry' for the past 35 years, found the likenesses bland and attributative only - hardly spitting images IMO.

Å99



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 08:18 PM
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Man, people are missing the most obvious use for this. Cold cases with John & Jane Does yet to be identified. Used with a good facial artist/sculptor, it could really fine-tune the images used to try to identify those people. They're ok enough as-is, but those approximate images could be better. This could do the trick and really hit closer to what the deceased really looked like.
edit on 2/24/2015 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: TheLaughingGod
a reply to: Annee

Thanks for the heads up, had not heard of her being referred to as a dogface.

What about Helen of Troy... daughter of Zeus, the face that launched a thousand ships. That would be interesting.

Trying to think of someone else but my mind is drawing a blank.


More like they launched to get away from her face lol!!



posted on Feb, 24 2015 @ 08:58 PM
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a reply to: IndependentOpinion

Very cool and as always this can and will be used for both good and bad.

Rape victims, crime scenes, political probings, etc.

The interesting thing about this is that once it gets more mature it could synced with social media and chronological private pictures and video footage to identify people based on their DNA.

Using archived footage and pictures would void attempts of using plastic surgery to circumvent the technology or to make up for the lacking current profile information as stated on the article.

In the example above of the journalist where their age and weight weren't known:

A database could be setup where a comparison match using age ranges and weight ranges would be performed against social media pics or public surveillance footage, including private photos and videos .

This is even more doable in the future as the tech progresses and people become more hooked up to the internet from birth , and we continue to lose anonymity and privacy rights.

Scary and good,



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