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Face of the Syndrome

Many genetic disorders are marked by a set of symptoms and MIT's Technology Review reports that a company called Face2Gene is developing facial recognition tools to recognize symptoms from photographs and suggest possible disorders that a patient might have.

The cofounders of FDNA, the parent company of Face2Gene, started their new company after selling to Facebook, Tech Review notes. In this case, though, the tool is searching for patterns among people with the same condition to develop an image that's typical of that syndrome. The company estimates that half of the 7,000 known genetic syndromes have distinct facial patterns that could be used for diagnosis.

"Imagine you're a geneticist and you have your own repository of images in your brain according to what you've seen and been trained on," company CEO Dekel Gelbman tells Tech Review. "You can't know everything. Your ability to conjure up an image or try to compare these patterns in your head is limited. So how do you democratize this?"

Face2Gene draws on input from geneticists and is free for healthcare providers, Tech Review notes, though the company is considering charging pharmaceutical companies that want to access it for their drug development efforts.

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