Previous studies have shown we like people who have a similar education level but a new study shows we share with our partners a greater degree of genetic similarity.
Benjamin W. Domingue of the University of Colorado and colleagues looked at the genomes of 825 white heterosexual American couples.
The authors found that spousal couples are more genetically similar than non-coupled pairs, a phenomenon called genome-wide assortative mating (GAM).
Further analysis revealed that the strength of the association between genetic similarity and spousal choice was only one-third that of the association between educational similarity and spousal choice.
Social barriers to mate choice did not appear to influence the degree of genetic similarity within couples. According to the authors, similar studies to look at additional races, interracial couples and homosexual couples are warranted.
The study, “Genetic and educational assortative mating among US adults”, is published in PNAS (Proceedings of the NAtional Academy of Sciences.
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