Researchers have developed a method to determine how genes influence facial shape. Combine that with what we can already tell from DNA, like race and possible hair color, and researchers one day might be able to put together an approximate mug shot.
It's already possible to make some inferences about the appearance of crime suspects from their DNA alone, including their racial ancestry and some shades of hair colour. And in 2012, a team led by Manfred Kayser of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, identified five genetic variants with detectable effects on facial shape. It was a start, but still a long way from reliable genetic photofits.
The mug shots may be a ways off, but some real-world tests are being conducted.
Researchers say that eventually we may use this technique to get a look into the past, to get a better idea of what our extinct human relatives, such as Neanderthals, looked like!