Wednesday, May 8, 2013

3D Portraits Created From Discovered DNA....!! (6pics)

Check out this incredible art series, Stranger Visions by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg... 
In case you were wondering, there is a reason why the portraits are so realistic in detail. 
It is because they were all created using DNA she found on items discovered on the street (i.e. chewing gum, cigarette butts, hair, ect.) 

-Find out how she does it and more pics of her work below: 

After being fixed and inspired on a insignificant piece of hair at a gallery exhibit, the artist wondered who the hair belonged to and 'what' they may have looked like... Dewey-Hagborg worked with a DYI biology lab in Brooklyn called Genspace where she met a number of biologists who taught her everything she now knows about molecular biology and DNA. 

The process is amazing... the artist finds objects such as a chewing gum on the sidewalk, takes it to the lab, extracts the DNA and then prints off a face of the person that chewed it....!! 
Of course there is a whole lot of technical science magic in there as well. 
Below is an interview with the artist who explains the process best: 
So I extract the DNA in the lab and then I amplify certain regions of it using a technique called PCR - Polymerase Chain Reaction. This allows me to study certain regions of the genome that tend to vary person to person, what are called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.
I send the results to my PCR reactions off to a lab for sequencing and what I  get back are basically text files filled with sequences of As, Tx, Cs, and Gs, the nucleotides that compose DNA. I align these using a bioinformatics program and determine what allele is present for a particular SNP on each sample.
Then I feed this information into a custom computer program I wrote which takes all these values which code for physical genetic traits and parameterizes a 3D model of a face to represent them. For example gender, ancestry, eye color, freckles, lighter or darker skin, and certain facial features like nose width and distance between the eyes are some of the features I am in the process of studying.
I add some finishing touches to the model in 3D software and then export it for printing on a 3D printer. I use Zcorp printer which prints in full color using a powder type material, kind of like sand and glue.
Don't know about you but, the FBI should have her phone number on speed dial, huh...??

Photo of the artist with a 3D portrait print of herself using DNA

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