Have you ever met your Doppelgänger? Even if you haven’t, they’re probably out there somewhere — and you likely even share some DNA, according to a new study.
A team of researchers in Spain have tried to figure out what makes someone a Doppelgänger and their results have been published in Cell Reports. Dr. Manel Esteller – who works as a researcher at Barcelona, Spain’s Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute – has done research about twins in the past, but for this study he decided to focus on people who look similar but have no overlaps in their family tree over the last 100 years.
Esteller and his team of scientists decided to look to art to find the answer. Using participants of Canadian artist François Brunelle’s photo project, “I’m Not A Look-Alike!,” they ended up recruiting 32 people who appeared to have a Doppelgänger of their own.
As part of the study, each of the pairs took part in a DNA test and questionnaires about their lives. After putting photographs of the participants through three facial recognition programs, the scientists discovered that — although all of the pairs looked similar to the human eye – the algorithm only found similar scores in 16 of the 32 pairs.
I think all of us right now have somebody that looks like us, a double.
“We were able to see that these look-alike humans, in fact, they are sharing several genetic variants,” Esteller explains to CNN. “And these are very common among them. So they share these genetic variants that are related in a way that they have the shape of the nose, the eye, the mouth, the lips, and even the bone structure. And this was the main conclusion that genetics put them together.”
While it’s likely that someone out there shares a similar DNA code with you, Esteller says that it actually just occurs at random. He also continued on to explain that it’s likely always been true that most humans have a Doppelgänger, but with the emergence of the internet, it’s much easier to find them.
“In the world right now, there are so many people that eventually the system is producing humans with similar DNA sequences,” Esteller adds.
If you’re on the hunt for your look-alike, keep in mind that there were some limitations in the study. With a small sample size, it’s tough to say whether or not the results would stand with a larger group of Doppelgängers. CNN also pointed out that most of the pairs were largely of European origin, and the research would benefit from a more diverse sample group.
Despite the limitations, researchers still believe that it would apply to a larger sample size.
“I think all of us right now have somebody that looks like us, a double,” Esteller says.