Saturday, 15 September 2012

Your, and your ancestor's, face in five genes

While we cannot yet(?) recreate a person from a readout of their DNA, genetic information can give insights into some of their physical characteristics. Eye colour and whether ear wax is wet of dry are a couple of the traits revealed by tests through 23andMe.

The authors of a recent paper in PLOS Genetics point out that there can be little doubt theat there is a genetic component to facial morphology as monozygotic (from a single egg) twins look more alike than dizygotic twins or other siblings, and siblings in turn look more alike than unrelated individuals.

The paper "A Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Five Loci Influencing Facial Morphology in Europeans," correlates DNA data and data obtained from three-dimensional head magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and two-dimensional portrait images for almost ten thousand individuals of European descent. Five candidate genes—PRDM16, PAX3, TP63, C5orf50, and COL17A1—were found to be significant for the morphology of the human face.

An author comments "Perhaps at some time it will be possible to draw a phantom portrait of a person solely from his or her DNA left behind." That could be extended to be from a DNA profile reconstructed from those of multiple descendants.

1 comment:

Ellen Thorne Morris said...

On this information, then would children whose parents are cousins, a very English pattern, have a greater chance of looking like their parents?