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June 6 2013

Artist Puts a Human Face on DNA


When Heather Dewey-Hagborg walks down the street, she notices all the bits of genetic information left behind by other unsuspecting pedestrians everything from strands of hair to fingernails to discarded cigarette butts. For an artist and doctoral student, these objects were a chance to investigate a compelling question: How much can be learned about a person from a stray hair?

"The question really stuck in my head, and I became obsessed with trying to get an answer," Dewey-Hagborg, who studies electronic art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., told LiveScience. "The more I walked around the city, the more I saw these genetic artifacts everywhere I looked.".

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