A Match Made in DNA? Study Finds Married Couples Have Similar Genes


Ever since we were little, we've been brought up to believe that opposites attract. But it turns out, when it comes to picking the person you'll marry, this old adage couldn't be further from the truth.

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found people gravitate towards others who are similar to them — literally. We tend to pick spouses who have genetic makeups similar to our own.

Past studies have proven that we're more likely to walk down the aisle with people that are close in age to us, plus have comparable body types, religious views, incomes, and educational levels. So really, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that we say "I do" to people whose genes closely mirror our own.

The study looked at the DNA of 825 non-Hispanic, white American couples. Specifically, researchers honed in on the DNA sequence variations that commonly occur within a population, also known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms. After comparing 1.7 million of these, they found that there were fewer genetic differences between spouses than two people who were selected completely at random.

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What exactly drives this preference for a genetically similar mate though is largely unknown, and likely extremely complex. "For example, people clearly care about height in picking partners," Benjamin Domingue, lead author of the study and a research associate at CU-Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science, told Reuters. "To the extent that tall people marry other tall people, that is going to result in genetic similarity among spouses. But it is difficult to know whether height or genes is driving this decision."

Either way, it's interesting to note that a strong bond isn't the only connection you and your fiancé share; it's your genes too!

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