We all have a double and this is the biological explanation.

Who hasn’t been told at some time that looks a lot like this or that famous person? That you have seen a double of him or her anywhere else in the world? For decades, the existence of individuals who look like each other without any family ties between them has been described as a proven but anecdotal fact and without scientific justification. Now, the thing changes.

An article published this Tuesday in the magazine ‘Cell Reporters’ demonstrates for the first time the cause of identical or very similar individuals in different parts of the world. “We studied the virtual twin images, we pass them by facial recognition software, we study the entire genetic material [el genoma, su perfil epigenético y su microbioma] and we saw that the similarity between these doubles is due to the fact that They share parts of the DNA.” explains to EL PERIÓDICO the leader of this research, Ph. Manel Esteller, director of the Institut de Recerca contra la Leucèmia Josep Carreres (IJC), ICREA research professor and UB professor.

According to Esteller, the appearance of doubles of a person as if they were photocopies has been cause for attention in the arts and popular culture, but it had never before been approached from the scientific point of view. For this research, we collected the same biological material from these individuals. extremely similar to see if there was an “objective reason” for this similarity. Facial recognition programs discovered pairs of individuals “almost indistinguishable from each other”. “And we saw that human doubles share similar variations in their DNA, particularly in relation to genes involved in the formation of the mouth, nose, eyes, chin and forehead,” Esteller adds.


And what is the reason for this? According to the researcher, because, given that the human population currently stands at 7.9 billion people, “increasingly likely to occur. these repetitions.” “Another interesting point is that, among these people who look so much alike, we did a very extensive questionnaire and we saw that they resemble each other beyond the face, i.e., also other similar physical aspects, such as height and weight, and of behavior. For example, whether or not they are addicted to tobacco, they have a similar IQ,” Esteller says.

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This study opens the door to many lines of research, of which Esteller highlights two. On the one hand, it provides the basis so that, based on the analysis of the image and the shape of the face, it can be diagnose genetic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes. “We could predict who is most likely to develop these diseases and get ahead of them,” he says. On the other hand, the research also serves as the basis for new forensic medicine techniques, as it allows, from an unknown DNA sample, to reconstruct the face of the person to whom this genetic material belongs. “It can help in the investigation of missing persons or to solve crimes.” Esteller concludes.

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