Friday, December 9, 2022

Doppelgangers: Is There a Replica of You?

Author: Mary Carter

According to a New York Times article written by Kate Golembiewski, Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone met in Atlanta in 1997. Ironically, Mr. Malone starred as a guest singer in Chasen’s band. They quickly became friends due to all their shared interests, and compatible personality. The two men were completely ignorant to the fact that they looked like twins until people started making comments and asking if they were brothers.

Malone and Chasen are doppelgängers. They look remarkably similar, but they are not related. They grew up in complete different parts of the country, and their immediate ancestors aren’t even from the same parts of the world. Chasen’s relatives stem from Lithuania and Scotland, while Malone’s parents are from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Completely different parts of the world, yet they look identical but share no relation!

Francois Brunelle’s famous photography shoot of Doppelgangers contains several images of doppelganger pairs with uncanny resemblance. These photographs truly capture the extreme similarities of these people who have never met before this, but could definitely pass as identical twins. 

Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone

In published research into Dr. Estelle’s Cell reports, thirty-two pairs of doppelgängers were recruited by Dr. Manal Estelle and his team. (Christensen) These individuals were selected from photographs taken by Mr. Francois Brunelle and were later instructed to take quizzes about their lifestyles and a DNA test. The similar qualities of each of the duo’s faces were simulated inside of facial recognition software. Roughly one half of the original thirty-two achieved similarity scores that two actual genetic twins would have achieved using the same technology. 

This DNA test formulated by Dr. Estelle gave results that showed that the one half who were “more similar” look-a-likes, had genes that paired greatly with each other when compared to the other half who did not have as “complete” of similarities. With these results Dr. Estelle states that “These people really look alike because they share important parts of the genome, or the DNA sequence.” The theory that those who look alike likely share genes was stated to seem like “common sense, but never had been shown before” he stated. (Golembiewski)

DNA itself, while being our theoretical building blocks, does not contain the entire layout of our construction. The events we and our ancestors have experienced directly link to specific genes being turned on or off. This medical phenomenon has been named an epigenome. The epigenomes we all contain are not the only parts affected by our environment as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that make up our microbiome are also affected. Studying these two Dr. Estelle found that in Doppelgängers, they often have almost exact genomes while also having contrasting epigenomes. (Golembiewski) Clarifying this Dr. Estelle said, “Genetics put them together, and epigenetics and microbiome pull them apart.” 

Works cited: 
Golembiewski, Kate. “Your Doppelganger is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them.” New York Times, August 23, 2022,
Accessed October 20, 2022

Christensen, Jen. “Your Have a Doppelganger and Probably Share DNA With Them, New Study Suggests.” CNN, August 25, 2022,
Accessed October 20, 2022

Brunelle, Francois. “Michael Malone and Charles Hall Chasen.” Stao Apso, August 25, 2022,
Accessed October 20, 2022

Links for further research:
1. “Doppelgangers Don’t Just Look Alike – They Also Share DNA.” Smithsonian Magazine, This article published on the Smithsonian Magazine discusses doppelgangers and how new studies have shown that they share DNA. This source includes multiple pictures of different pairs of doppelgangers and contains information from new studies explaining evidence of shared DNA between doppelgangers.
2. “Doppelgangers Don’t Just Look Alike, They Act Alike and Share DNA.” Peta Pixel, This article by Matt Growcoot provides information explaining the similar lifestyles of doppelgangers, while also including images and facts from genetic studies performed on pairs of doppelgangers. 
3. “Doppelgangers: Evil Twins.” The Westport Library, Unlike the previous ones, this article is focused more on the supernatural and evil perspective of doppelgangers. This article discusses doppelgangers to be the evil twin of a person who is an unlucky sign of fortune and bad karma, such as an evil entity impersonating a human and sabotaging their life. 

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