DNA has just gotten more useful. In genetic analysis, it can now be used to generate incredibly precise mugshots of criminals.

Researchers developed a new technique using DNA to determine the genes that influence facial shape. This allows them to generate images of what someone looks like just from biological samples.

The researchers from Pennsylvania University and Catholic University of Leuven imaged 600 participants using a stereoscopic camera to create 3D images and mapped the surfaces of each over 7,000 points and used statistical analysis to guess how genes, sex and racial ancestry affected each face shape.

They also used 76 genetic mutations known to cause facial abnormalities just to cover more ground of how a face would look like. They found 24 variants in 20 different genes that could be used to predict the shape of a face.

The results are not perfect yet but they are damn near good. Could crime finally come to an end?  [PLoS Genetics via New Scientist Images from Pennsylvania State University and New Scientist]