Can you read genetic fitness in the face?

15 February 2009

Question

Can you read the genes a person carries by looking at a facial structure?

Answer

Robert - Well not directly. Fortunately we don't all come with genetic labels on our faces like barcodes but we do know that our facial structure's like everything else, strongly under genetic control. What we also know is people are extraordinarily good at recognising faces. We can pick faces out or very complex backgrounds and that is enormously important for us to be able to separate individuals out. The answer's almost certainly yes. It's one of the best things we're at. Of course, we can do it between individuals and very easily between populations.

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