The new face of DNA

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Deoxyribonucleic acid

Thirty years ago the world was wowed by the incredible technique of DNA fingerprinting. In the next couple of years be prepared to be wowed by DNA face painting.  Soon, the CSIs, NCSIs, FBIs, CIAs Cold Case Units and anybody looking to 'wake the dead' will have a new string to their investigative bows. The photo fit will be a thing of the past and a picture of a suspect's face will be created using DNA found at the crime scene. The information that DNA provides is not limited to a person's ethnic origin, colour of hair and colour of eyes. Scientists can now tell much more about the face, such as the form of a nose, distance between the eyeballs and distances between so many key points on the face that they can produce a credible picture of a person from their DNA.  That's great news for the police force but what about the technique being used irresponsibly? There are always people waiting to use new technology to make a quick buck. Many parents are desperate to have the possibility of choosing a specific embryo that does not contain a faulty gene for a terrible inherited disease that they carry. It is perfectly normal that they want a healthy child that will not suffer. What happens if the DNA face painting technology  becomes readily available and geneticists start to offer a service whereby parents could choose an embryo based on what the child would look like?  Brave New World here we come!

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