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DNA collected from YOUR trash made into 3D printed portraits

Posted by admin on Jun 19, 2013 in geekery, random, technology

3D DNA shot ZaraStone c2013

3D Printed heads created from DNA sampling in NYC. Artist Dewey- Hagborg working with Russian Police to solve crimes.

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s 3D portraits are unnerving. They were made using DNA samples she extracted from discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum. She collected these samples from public spaces in New York City. Basically, that means that any of her portraits could be YOU, as collecting DNA from public spaces is currently 100% legal.

So, what’s the process- how exactly does one go from trash to these realistic 3D portraits?

Dewey-Hagborg uses her background in science to extract DNA from the samples she collects in Brooklyn’s GenSpace lab. She then uses genetic markers (taken from single nucleotide polymorphisms) to map out physical attributes such as eye color and skintone. Once she has the results back, she maps out the face with 3D modelling software, and then sends that to get printed on a 3D printer.

There are currently no laws around public usage of DNA collected from a communal area.

heather dewey hagborg studio

“It is not likely be legislated for twenty years,” said lawyer Philippa Loengard, Assistant Director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts. “This area is so avant-garde. However, if a drivers license was in the public garbage no one has a right to open credit cards with it, and this analogy could be used for collecting DNA from cigarettes in the trash.” Read more…

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