Published on 8/24/2022 5:15 PM / Updated on 8/24/2022 5:18 PM
Research shows similar looks can share DNA, not just faces
A study published in the scientific journal cell reportsthis Tuesday (23/8), shows that same-sex without kinship also present genetic similarities.
The study led by Manel Esteller used 32 pairs of homosexuals to perform DNA tests and fill out lifestyle questionnaires. The researchers used facial recognition software to identify similarities between the participants’ faces – some of whom even lived on different continents.
Sixteen of these 32 pairs achieved overall scores similar to identical twins analyzed by the same program. The researchers then compared the DNA of these 16 pairs of pairs to see if the DNA was similar to the faces.
The researchers found that the 16 pairs that were “true” similar shared significantly more genes than the other 16 pairs deemed less similar by the program.
“These people are really similar because they share important parts of their genome, or DNA sequences,” Manel Esteller told the paper. New York times. He added that more similar people with more similar genes is common sense, but this has never been proven.
However, our appearance is not determined by DNA alone. Living experiences and those of our ancestors influence which of our genes are turned on or off – what scientists call epigenomes.
The microbiome, our microscopic community of bacteria, fungi and viruses, is influenced by our environment even more. Esteller found that while the genomes were similar, the epigenomes and microbiomes were different. “Genetics holds them together, epigenetics and microbiome separates them,” he said.
This shows us that the couples’ similar appearances have more to do with their DNA than the environments they grew up in, a fact that surprised Esteller, who expected to see a greater environmental impact.
Since similarities’ appearances are more attributable to shared genes than shared life experiences, this means, to some extent, that the similarities are just fluke, fueled by population growth. “Now there are so many people in the world that the system is repeating itself,” he said.
The researcher hopes that the study’s findings will help clinicians diagnose the disease in the future — if people have enough similar genes to look alike, they may also share disease tendencies. He also noted that there may be links between facial features and behavioral patterns, and that the study’s findings could one day help forensic science by providing a glimpse into criminal suspects’ faces known only from DNA samples.
However, Daphne Marchenko, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford Center for Bioethicswho was not involved in the study, urged caution in applying the findings to forensic medicine.
“We have already seen many examples of how current face algorithms are being used to reinforce existing racial bias in things like housing, employment, jobs and criminal profiling,” Marchenko said, adding that the study “raises many important ethical considerations.”
The full text of the study can be found here.
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