Doppelgänger DNA

Who was the star in Black Swan? Natalie Portman or Keira Knightly? 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

Doppelgangers are people who look alike, but aren’t related! We might see these look-alikes in our real lives. Even celebrities have them!  But do these duos share more than their looks? 

Enter Ricky Joshi, Maria Rigau and Carlos Garía-Prieto from a Spanish multi-research institute team. 

They used a facial recognition algorithm to score the physical similarities between doppelgangers. Similar looking individuals submitted saliva D-N-A samples and took lifestyle surveys.

Are these doppelgangers D-N-A duos? YES they DO share SOME D-N-A! Some of these shared genes control facial features like lip structure and eye spacing! They ALSO have similar lifestyle traits, like smoking and educational levels. 

This study helps researchers find what genes determine facial structure. This might help diagnose genetic disorders linked to physical appearance. Such as Down syndrome or rare Stickler syndrome.  

Who’s your celebrity look-a-like? I hope mine is a famous supermodel! 


Joshi, R. S., Rigau, M., García-Prieto, C. A., Moura, M. C. de, Piñeyro, D., Moran, S., Davalos, V., Carrión, P., Ferrando-Bernal, M., Olalde, I., Lalueza-Fox, C., Navarro, A., Fernández-Tena, C., Aspandi, D., Sukno, F. M., Binefa, X., Valencia, A., & Esteller, M. (2022). Look-alike humans identified by facial recognition algorithms show genetic similarities. Cell Reports, 40(8).