Advancement in Human Face Prediction Using DNA

Aamer Alshehhi, Aliya Almarzooqi, Khadija Alhammadi, Naoufel Werghi, Guan K. Tay, Habiba Alsafar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The rapid improvements in identifying the genetic factors contributing to facial morphology have enabled the early identification of craniofacial syndromes. Similarly, this technology can be vital in forensic cases involving human identification from biological traces or human remains, especially when reference samples are not available in the deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) database. This review summarizes the currently used methods for predicting human phenotypes such as age, ancestry, pigmentation, and facial features based on genetic variations. To identify the facial features affected by DNA, various two-dimensional (2D)- and three-dimensional (3D)-scanning techniques and analysis tools are reviewed. A comparison between the scanning technologies is also presented in this review. Face-landmarking techniques and face-phenotyping algorithms are discussed in chronological order. Then, the latest approaches in genetic to 3D face shape analysis are emphasized. A systematic review of the current markers that passed the threshold of a genome-wide association (GWAS) of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-face traits from the GWAS Catalog is also provided using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA), approach. Finally, the current challenges in forensic DNA phenotyping are analyzed and discussed.

Original languageBritish English
Article number136
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • face landmarks
  • forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP)
  • genome wide association studies (GWAS)
  • single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)


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