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The Faces of Discarded DNA

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg collected all sort of trash from New York City streets and subways: hair, gum, and cigarettes. But all of them contained traces of DNA that she used to create sculptures of the people that parted ways with those bits and bobs, RedOrbit says.

As she tells Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's The Approach, she then took those samples to Genspace, the DIY biology lab in Brooklyn, for analysis. After PCR amplification and sequencing of the samples, Dewey-Hagborg aligned the resulting reads with a particular focus on SNPs linked to physical appearance. She then fed that data into a program she wrote to make a three-dimensional model of the person's face. She then printed those models using a 3D printer.

"We are shedding our biological information all the time without knowing it," Dewey-Hagborg tells Popular Science. "I think anonymity should be a choice."

Building on that theme, for her project after "Stranger Visions," she developed a set of sprays: one that destroys DNA that's left behind and another that leaves behind a mix of DNA from 50 different sources, Pop Sci adds.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.