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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 28 June 2011

In this video, Dr Christine Jasoni, from the University of Otago, talks about the similarities between face and brain development. She discusses some of the reasons for the differences we see between individuals, despite similar genetic blueprints.


The face is another one of these things like the brain that has a lot of leeway in terms of how it actually develops. Again, it’s the same kind of blueprint. You know, we have a nose and two eyes and a mouth, but the structure – you know, the size of the nose and the size of the eyes and the mouth and where everything is placed relative to one another – happens during development in a way that the cells migrate actually to form the face. Where they actually end up relative to one another, that forms the actual facial features.

And part of that is genetic, because again, we all look alike in many respects, and you can break that down even further and you can look at different ethnic groups, and you can see clear genetic similarities among individuals that are in a particular ethnic group. And yet even within an ethnic group, there is an enormous, a vast array of different faces.

I mean everybody is different, and so our brains work in essentially the same way as… the formation of the brain is essentially the same as the formation of the face. There is this certain amount of slop that is allowed in order to give everybody uniqueness. That has the fantastic consequence of making everybody different.

Jesse Hargood
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