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A mesh conformation approach that makes use of deformable generic meshes has been applied to establishing correspondences between 3D shapes with missing data. Given a group of shapes with correspondences, we can build up a statistical shape model by applying principal component analysis (PCA). The conformation at first globally maps the generic mesh to the 3D shape based on manually located corresponding landmarks, and then locally deforms the generic mesh to clone the 3D shape. The local deformation is constrained by minimizing the energy of an elastic model. An algorithm was also embedded in the conformation process to fill missing surface data of the shapes. Using synthetic data, we demonstrate that the conformation preserves the configuration of the generic mesh and hence it helps to establish good correspondences for shape analysis. Case studies of the principal component analysis of shapes were presented to illustrate the successes and advantages of our approach.