Genes And Our Facial Features: The Findings And Emerging Patterns

  1. The nose is the most influenced DNA facial feature.
  2. Genetic influence is not uniform or predictable, as certain genetic factors interact with the genome in complex ways, known as epistasis.
  3. Certain facial features are linked with the probability of diseases like cancer.
  4. Genetic understanding of this kind, previously unheard of, will advance personalised treatments and help in forecasting upcoming physical and mental health issues.
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How Genes Determine Our Facial Features

We often see similar facial appearances of family members in photo albums, observing how genes determine certain distinctive features in our bodies.

In-depth genetic knowledge and how our DNA is linked to facial appearance is a relatively new accomplishment by geneticists. 130 chromosomal regions which are associated with our facial shapes and features have been identified, in a comprehensive process involving scanning the DNA of 8000 participants.

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Humans share 98.8% of their DNA with chimpanzees. Because gene expression can be turned up or down-similar to the volume on your TV-the same gene can be turned to "high" in a human and "low" in a chimp. The human brain is larger and smarter than that of chimps and gorillas because, although we all have the same genes in the same brain region, these genes are expressed in different "volumes" or amounts. It is these differences that affect brain development and function.

Comparing Chimp, Bonobo and Human DNA | AMNH

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Ancestry testing

DNA-testing is done by millions of people all over the world to analyze their DNA and find out where they originate.

Targeted marketing for DNA home-testing kits shows models under the banner “find out your ethnicity” or urges people to book holidays based on their “DNA story”. It’s estimated the industry will be worth £7.7bn by 2022.

'It made me question my ancestry': does DNA home testing really understand race?

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Cheek Dimples

Found on both sides of the mouth for some of us, cheek dimples are considered attractive and ‘genetically dominant’. Around 37 percent of the population are having cheek dimples (in a study of 2300 people).

Cheek dimples are caused by a change in a particular facial muscle called zygomaticus major. Genetics too play an important part for a face to have dimples, which can develop over a lifetime and also disappear.

Cheek Dimples: How They Form, and How to Get Them

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