Faces are fascinating. From the earliest days of our lives we recognise the faces of the people around us, and the world is full of unique and beautiful (or not so beautiful) looks. Our faces display our emotions, and reveal details about our age, sex, health and origins. But very little is known about how the shape of each person's face is controlled. The answer lies within our genes, according to researchers that have analysed the facial features and DNA of nearly 600 people from the US, Brazil, and the Cape Verde islands in the Atlantic Ocean. They've found key genetic 'landmarks' corresponding to particular features, which could one day allow scientists to recreate faces from DNA samples. While there's still more work to be done, the potential for this technology is huge, from solving crimes to recreating the faces of our long-dead ancestors or even extinct human-like species.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.