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Litterbugs Beware

Some bus stop billboards in Hong Kong are showing sketches of what litterbugs look like based on the DNA they left behind on their improperly discarded items, Discover's D-brief blog reports.

Using DNA phenotyping, US firm Parabon NanoLabs has generated these posters of litterers for a campaign by Hong Kong Cleanup. Using an algorithm, the company gauges how certain genes in the DNA collected affect physical characteristics like face shape, eye color, and freckles, D-brief says.

It adds that such DNA phenotyping is in its early days and cannot determine, for instance, the age of the person from whom the DNA is derived, so the billboard pictures aren't necessarily good likenesses.

"But it's not hard to extrapolate to a future where every bit of discarded DNA is not only sequenceable but traceable to your very appearance," D-brief adds.