We hate it when other people say “all Asians look alike.” And what makes it even harder to deal with this stereotype is the fact that there aren’t many outstanding features to differentiate among East Asians or South Asians. We may have different hairstyles, facial structures and body shapes, but unfortunately for others, this is something that’s not easy to look past. We may know, but others might not. For instance, if you told someone you’ve never met before to walk into a room full of Asians and come find you, what would you say? Saying something like “I have straight black hair” would describe nearly everyone in the room.
According to a new study by the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) Pan-Asian SNP Consortium, Asians are very much alike genetically. The study, which screened genetic samples from almost 2,000 people across 73 Asian populations, found genetic similarities between populations throughout Asia, and as expected, people who are from the same region or share the same language, are genetically very similar.
With these new findings, doctors and scientists are able to create and provide medicine to treat diseases and conditions that are specific to the Asian population. Moreover, the study answers a lot about Asia’s diversity and how the continent grew from a single migration from the south to the north. Edison Liu, a researcher who was part of the consortium, says that the migration started in South East Asia first where there are older populations, and then slowly moved north where there are younger populations. Despite China’s large population, it is not as diverse as the people living in South East Asia, the study finds.
So, us Asians are all different and the same, after all. But then again, can you tell apart a British person from a French person?