Technical Details

This is the first in a series of technical posts I hope to put together over the coming weeks about the process of creating Stranger Visions. Starting from the lab end I will describe in detail how I create these portraits from DNA.

The first step of course is extracting DNA from a sample, that can be done with a kit readily obtainable from Qiagen, the “DNA Investigator Kit”.

After I extract the DNA* I do a test PCR for a specific alu insertion using a primer (full kit is also available) from Carolina. This gives me an idea of whether I successfully extracted chromosomal DNA or not. If the results look bad on this there is probably no reason to go further with this sample.

Next is looking at maternal ancestry from mitochondrial DNA. A couple different primer/kits are also available from carolina to look at this region amplifying for sequencing and  haplotyping.

If all these results look good I continue to look at 3 SNPs associated with particular traits and 1 region on the y chromsome:

rs12913832 – for eye color

SRY gene – present on Y chromosome, I use to indicate gender

rs9939609 – as one of many indicators of obesity

rs4648379 – preliminary research, correlated with the size of the nose

I have been using a free tool on IDT for designing primers to target these regions using PCR. If the result of the reactions looks good in a gel I send them for sequencing.
So those are SNPs I have had success so far analyzing in the lab myself, but there are a whole lot more clues I have on a “master list”, the things I can find out from a 23andme profile for example. In addition to SNPs related to specific traits this includes Y chromosome haplogroup information from males to get an idea of paternal ancestry, as well as Ancestry Informative Markers, specific SNPs that are correlated with population studies giving an overall picture of ancestry beyond the direct maternal and paternal lineage. I am pasting my master list here below (excluding the ancestry info I just mentioned and linked to above as that would increase the list a thousand fold). Also, here is a link to appearance related SNPs on snpedia.

*I have recently discovered that whole genome amplification can also be performed after the extraction step and isn’t as expensive as I previously though – I will likely pursue this in future experiments.

SNP
allele
associated trait

rs642742
AA
west african

rs1426654
AA
light skinned european

rs2814778
CC
malaria resistance

rs17646946 
GG
curlier hair in europeans

rs11803731
AA
straighter hair

rs12896399
TT
blue eyes vs green if not brown – prelim research

rs1426654
AA
euro ancestry – light skinned

rs12913832
GG
blue eyes

rs1667394
CC
decreased odds blond hair

rs1805007
TT
higher odds red hair

rs17822931 
TT
dry earwax

rs1851665
AA
greater chance of obesity

rs6625163
AA
baldness

rs2153271
TT
more freckling

rs7349332
CT;TT
curlier hair

rs6732426
CC
curlier hair

rs3827760 
AG
thinner hair (asian)

rs9939609
AA
higher BMI

AT
typical BMI

TT
lower BMI

rs6548238  
CC
typical BMI

CT;TT
lower BMI

rs925946 
GT
typical BMI

TT
higher BMI

GG
lower BMI

rs7138803  
AG
typical BMI

AA
higher BMI

GG
lower BMI

rs13130484 
CT
typical BMI

TT
higher BMI

CC
lower BMI

rs4788102 
AG
typical BMI

AA
higher BMI

GG
lower BMI

rs10838738
AG
typical BMI

GG
higher BMI

AA
lower BMI

rs10871777 
GG;AG
higher BMI

rs6113491
AA
baldness

rs6152
GG
baldness

rs1385699
TT
baldness

rs1393350
AA
blue eyes rather than green IF non-brown – preliminary research

rs1533995
AA
more pronounced crypts

AG
typical

GG
less pronounced crypts

rs3739070
AA
typical

AC,CC
less iris furrows

rs12896399
GG
more pronounced pigementation rings

TT
absent pigmentation rings

CT
slightly higher odds red hair

rs1805009
CC
red hair

TT
increased odds brown hair

CT
typical

CC
less freckling

rs4778138
GG
less freckling

AA
more freckling

rs1805007
CT;TT
more freckling

rs1042602
AA
absence of freckles

rs2733832
CC
darker skin

CT;TT lighter skin

rs1800414
C
each c -> 1.3 melanin unit lighter skin in east asians

rs16891982
GG
european light skinned

preliminary facial research
source

rs4648379
C/T
edge of nostril -> tip of lower nose

rs974448
C/T
mid eye to top of nose

rs17447439
A/G
distance between eyes

rs6555969
C/T
distance between cheekbone and nose, ALSO distance between eye and top nose

rs805722
C/T
distance between eye and top of nose

Eye and Skin color

source

rs12913832

Rs12203592

rs16891982

Rs1545397

Rs885479

Rs6119471

rs1426654