We all probably have an 80% “double” look alike somewhere in the world, study finds

A new scientific study  explained why there is a person very similar to us among the more than 7.9 billion people living in the world.


It is quite likely that, at some point, an acquaintance or relative has told us that they saw a person very similar to us. Scientists ,  in charge of a new study, said that while it is very difficult to find a person 100% identical to us, one who is 75% or 80% similar to us must already be among the more than 7,900 Millions of humans living on Earth  today.

The report was presented by a team from the Josep Carreras Leukemia Research Institute and published in the journal Cell Reports . Manel Esteller , leader of this group, decided to explore the reasons why there are people with very similar faces who are not related and, for this, he contacted François Brunelle , a Canadian artist dedicated to photographing similar people since 1999 all over the world. 

Science explains similar unrelated faces

Brunelle helped Esteller and his team recruit some 32 couples to volunteer for the tests , and the photographs obtained were analyzed using three facial recognition software . In the case of the twins, the figures reached were 90% to 100%, but in the case of random people who did not even know each other, two of the programs determined a correlation level of 75% in 16 of these pairs. .

The results obtained indicated that the shared genes corresponded to various parts of the face such as eyes, lips, mouth and nostrils, in addition to some others such as bone formation in the skull and genes involved with skin textures or retention of liquids, since these differentiate the volumes of the faces.

To find an answer to why the resemblance, the team examined the biological material, the genome, the epigenome (chemical marks that control DNA ) and the microbiome (the types of viruses and bacteria that inhabit our bodies). The first two were the ones that paired up similar people while the other two distanced them.

The study indicates that the two people who make up the couple with similar faces have very similar genetics ; that is, they both share DNA sequences that are similar. This resemblance does not occur because both individuals are related by blood, but rather by chance that creates identical areas or DNA sequences in both organisms.

Other research results on similar faces

Another relevant data found in the investigation determines that the volunteers were not only similar in their physical features, but also in their behaviors. The couples filled out questionnaires with more than 60 questions about their life habits and similarities were found in some of them. Smoking and education level were among the behavioral traits that were correlated, suggesting that the genetic variations they share may also influence their personalities or habits.

The team in charge of this study believes that the results found can be applied in biomedicine , since  the identified genes and their respective variants may also be involved in pathologies. For example, a person’s genome can be relatively deduced from a face to screen for genetic diseases . In addition, another application could be in forensic science, since it could be used to generate a system capable of reconstructing the face of a criminal or a victim without the need to identify their DNA .