GenoPets is a mobile app that (1) enables instant genotyping at 14 critical genomic loci using only a facial photograph and Bayesian imputation, and (2) uses imputed genotype data to instantly match the user with an adoptable homeless pet uniquely suited to his/her preferences.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at genetic loci across the genome are responsible for diversity in human facial appearance. We conjectured, therefore, that it would be possible to impute SNPs at critical genomic loci based solely on a facial photograph in concert with computer vision algorithms. Using Betaface facial recognition algorithms accessed via the Betaface API, GenoPets extracts several facial features whose genetic origins are well-characterized, including chin size, hair thickness, hair color, head shape, and nose shape. GenoPets also uses Betaface algorithms to determine the age and gender of the individual in the photograph. Through a literature search of published, peer-reviewed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for these facial characteristics, we identified SNPs at 14 genomic loci that are significantly associated with these characteristics. GenoPets applies a Bayesian inference approach to instantly genotype individuals at those 14 loci based on extracted features from their photograph and these published GWAS data.

GenoPets then applies a combinatorial approach to the imputed genotype to determine the user's probable preferences in pets, and then presents the user with a selection of adoptable homeless pets from the Petfinder API (which enables programmatic access to adoptable pets and animal welfare organizations nationwide) that fit the user's unique profile in a Tinder-like interface. Once the user selects a pet from these highly-personalized choices, the app automatically takes the first steps in facilitating the user's adoption of that pet by sending an email.

In summary, the user experience of GenoPets is elegant and simple:

  1. User takes selfie using mobile app
  2. App instantly genotypes user at 14 critical genomic loci
  3. App uses combinatorial approach to infer user's pet preferences based on genotype
  4. App presents personalized adoptable homeless pet choices to user in Tinder-like interface
  5. User selects homeless pet from personalized choices
  6. App automatically takes first steps to facilitate user's adoption of the pet

GenoPets represents both a scientific and social accomplishment, both advancing "instant genotyping" as well as facilitating the adoption of homeless pets.

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