Medical Channel: Selfies can reveal genetic disorders

11/07/2014

The scourge of celebrities, who can no longer satisfy fans with a simple autograph, selfies may serve a higher purpose than documenting chance encounters with stars thanks to researchers at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. They have developed a computer program that identifies a number of genetic disorders based on photographs. They don't have to be selfies; any headshot will do, even if it's from the 19th century. Applying this software to photographs of Abraham Lincoln's face, for example, allowed the program to determine that the former president probably suffered from Marfan syndrome, which results in unusually large features.

The program analyzes facial features and looks for similarities with faces in its database of people with Down's syndrome, Angleman syndrome, Progeria, and other disorders. It returns matches ranked by likelihood.
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