The California gene-hunting company Human Longevity published a paper making the bold claim that it can identify individuals using their genomes to predict what their faces looks like.
The assertion—that DNA can be used to create a photo-like reconstruction —has big implications. It would allow police to pick suspects out of a lineup using a blood spot and it would mean no genome collected for research is truly private.
Identifying someone’s face from their DNA isn’t just theoretically possible, but likely to be possible a few years, says Mark Shriver, who works on genes-to-face prediction at the department of anthropology at Penn State. “I think it’s in our future for sure,” he says.
However, scientists still have work to do to know exactly how, say, your DNA influences the length of your nose or the width of your mouth, or the timbre of your voice.