Doubles already exist. And they don’t just look the same

They say that everyone has a doppelganger. This may be an exaggeration, but it really is. And they share more than just their looks. This is evidenced by the DNA analysis of sixteen very similar pairs.

Canadian artist François Brunel’s portraits were used for the symmetrical look. He’s been collecting pictures of very similar people since 1999. Spanish scientists Josep Carreras Institute for Leukemia Research (IJCIn Barcelona, ​​I tested three facial recognition algorithms for 32 very similar pairs. Sixteen of them are classified as doppelgängers. After genetic analysis, nine of them turned out to be more similar. These “super-duplications” share more than 19,000 genetic variations in 3,730 genes. Most genes have to do with facial and body characteristics. But there’s more: the doppelganger’s answers to extensive questionnaires indicated that they also shared a number of other characteristics.

Imprinting vs Imprinting
“These findings not only provide insight into the genes associated with our appearance, and possibly other traits of our bodies and personality, but also shed light on how much of who we are and what sets us apart is inherited or rather acquired during our lives,” the authors write.

“We discovered in 2005 that twin brothers with the same DNA were not homozygous. That is, there were chemical modifications in the DNA sequence that regulate gene expression. He explained why they were not completely identical. In the current study, we examined the other side: people They have the same face, but are not related to each other.’These people help us answer the question to what extent our appearance is determined by nature versus nurture,’ said lead researcher Manil Esteler. Scientias.

We have attempted to analyze as many molecular layers as possible in the available samples. In this case, DNA was the most stable component. We were able to determine the DNA sequence (genome), DNA methylation (epigenome) and bacterial and viral content (microbiome). All three components are critical in determining the activity of cells and tissues.”

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Common complex properties
Esteller explains that the genes shared by doppelgangers fall into four classes. “It included genes associated with the shape of the eyes, lips, mouth, nose and other parts of the face, genes involved in bone formation, such as the shape of the skull, genes that determine skin type and genes that influence how much moisture you retain, resulting in different facial size and appearance.”

But the likes had a lot in common. “Couples who had the common genetic variants not only had very similar faces, but were also the same height and weight. They also shared more complex traits, such as their smoking behavior, their level of education, and whether they were left- or right-handed.”

Still family?
The researchers wondered if they might resemble distant relatives. “We have done genetic research going back several generations, and these individuals are not even distantly related, there is no common ancestor. They came by chance. There are so many people on the planet that the system has begun to produce individuals with many variants,” said Esteller. common genetics.

This seems logical, but the researcher was certainly surprised by the results. “At the beginning of the study, I thought the environment would have a stronger effect on the face, but genes appear to be stronger in this study.”

criminals drawings
Its results can be applied in several areas. The study makes it possible to develop a new artificial intelligence that can help diagnose genetic disorders. We can infer from facial features the presence of genetic mutations associated, for example, with the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s. The results can also be used in forensic medicine, because we now know specific genetic variants that determine facial features, so we can draw a face from an unknown DNA sample.”

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So this rare lookalike turned out to be very useful. But people who look a lot are not very common. Researchers had to search for a long time. If you come across a lookalike, make sure to reach out, not just for the sake of science, but because you likely have more in common than you think.

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