Revisiting the “Serial Creeper” with Appearance Prediction

In September, we wrote on “The Creeper” who was wrecking havoc by breaking into Miami homes and assaulting or standing over women as they slept. Police also released a sketch of the Creeper, which was commissioned by Parabon NanoLabs using Appearance Prediction technology.

The scientific basis for Appearance Prediction technology remains uncertain, but has been applied in cases such as this, as well as putting faces to ancient leaders, including King Richard III of England. Scientists say, “Each person’s instruction book, or genome, holds 3 billion chemical base pairs, DNA ‘letters’ that spell out the plans for everything from sex to skin color. Most of those letters don’t vary much from person to person. But scientists can use slight changes in the text, one-letter differences called single nucleotide polymorphisms, to predict certain physical features.”

Certain characteristics can be determined by fewer letters spread out over fewer genes. For instance, hair color can be determined by looking at only 22 letters and eye color by looking at 6 letters spread over 6 genes. Both of these determinations are 80-90% accurate. Scientists now say they can predict skin color with similar accuracy. Determinations are expected to be more complicated for features such as height or facial characteristics, characteristics that are affected by environmental factors as well as ancestry.

Read more, here.

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