New tech created by a researcher named Mark Shriver of Pennsylvania State University may one day be able to create a virtual mug shot using DNA. The tech could be used to catch criminals in the future by making up a virtual mug shot using DNA material left at crime scenes. Shriver and his team created 3D images of 600 volunteers from a range of racial and ethnic groups.
In the test, the team superimposed over 7000 digital points of reference on the facial features and recorded the exact position of each of those markers. The team then used grids to measure how the facial features of a subject differ from the normal range.
A computer model was then used to see how a person’s sex, genes, and race affected facial features. The team found that after correcting a sample for sex and race, 20 genes with 24 variants were reliably able to predict facial shape.
Shriver is currently refining his tech by sampling more people. The next round of testing will add 30,000 different points to the mix rather than the 7000 used in the initial system. Shriver says that in the future merging this tech with a 3D printer will let a 3D model of a person’s face be printed out based on a piece of DNA. This tech may one day be used as a digital police sketch to help catch a suspect.