A couple weeks ago, NPR reporter Acacia Squires found a story that really conveyed the brave new world that we are entering as the cost of DNA analysis rapidly drops. Heather Dewey-Hagborg, a doctoral student in information art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., was collecting stray hair and cigarette butts that people left behind and extracting DNA from them. Then she was creating portraits of the people who had left their genetic information behind.
She starts by cutting up her sample, sometimes the end of a cigarette, thin slices of a chewed wad of gum, sometimes hair, and incubates the sample with chemicals to distill it into pure DNA.
She then takes that DNA, and matches the code with different traits on the genome related to the way human faces look.