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China uses DNA to map facial features

Ken Martin

Chinese scientists are taking facial recognition to the next level by using a DNA sample.

The technology is being used to create an image of a person’s face and is also being developed in the United States, according to a report in the New York Times.

The process of creating an image is called DNA phenotyping.

Scientists use it to analyze genes for traits like skin color, eye color and ancestry.

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A handful of companies and scientists are trying to get the science to a level where the images are accurate enough to identify criminals and victims.

Critics and experts on ethics in science worry that China is creating this process to intensify racial profiling.  A system that can aid in mass surveillance  and tighten its grip by being able to track dissidents and protesters as well as criminals.

Scientists working on the technology have received funding from European institutions.

Questions have also been raised over how the DNA samples have been gathered.

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While Chinese scientists say that the blood must be given willingly, there are places such as Xinjiang, where the samples are collected during mandatory health checkups.

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