What attracted you to your spouse? His eyes? Her laugh? Did you meet at your microbiology club in college? What if one level of similarity and attraction went deeper than that, down to the cellular level?

You may have met your husband or wife by accident, but it seems that the term soul mate is true after all. You and your partner may have been destined to be together since birth because you likely have DNA that is similar to each other. A new study suggests that you may not have chosen your partner by chance. Instead, you may have picked him or her because you share similar genetic profiles. For the study a team of researchers used genomic data from the Health and Retirement Study to analyze the genomes of more than 800 couples.

 

 

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By using 1.7 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms, a type of genetic variation, in each of the subjects' genomes, the researchers assessed the genetic similarity of married couples and found that their DNA have fewer differences than with randomly selected individuals, which means that married individuals tend to have similar DNA.

Researchers from the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado-Boulder said that one reason why people who have similar genes end up together is because they have more chances to meet and mate. Findings of the study also help explain why people tend to marry somebody of the same ethnicity or somebody they share similar characteristics and interests with. People, more often set their eyes on someone who has similar physical traits. For instance, tall people are more often attracted to individuals of similar height and not to somebody short.

Musically inclined individuals, on the other hand, are drawn to people who love to sing or are able to play musical instruments well and a similarity in DNA may have something to do with all of these.

The likelihood of marrying someone who shares the same genetic similarities, however, is slimmer than the odds of marrying someone with the same level of education. The researchers said that the weight of genetic similarity only accounts for about a third of educational similarity when it comes to chances of marriage.

But there is an important question that scratch our mind. Is it possible that DNA of couples become similar after marriage as a result of exchange of a genetic material between sperm and egg or was it similar before marriage? Or there is another way that makes them similar?

To find out this response a team of researchers at Michigan State University found married couples do not become more similar over time, but rather they tend to pick their spouse based on shared personality traits. This similarity was originally thought to be because of spouses’ influence on each other over time, but this study supports the belief that these shared traits are what drew them to each other in the first place. Therefore, spousal similarity is better explained by selection than gradual influence. But the best data would be obtained after collecting DNA samples from both genders that are in relationship or have been engaged, not only after marriage. In this way a better picture could be gained and shed light on many unknown things related to this correlation between DNA and marriage. It is not easy to perform such studies of genome sequencing as it takes time and it is very costly.

As a conclusion people tend to pick spouses who have similar backgrounds and characteristics, including race, religion, age, income, and body type. Now, researchers believe genetic similarity can be added to that list. Perhaps you should try the pick-up line: “I like your genes.”

 

    References:

  1. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/7287/20140520/you-will-likely-marry-someone-with-dna-similar-to-you-study.htm,
  2. http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/spouses-tend-have-similar-dna/.
  3. http://www.medicaldaily.com/opposites-attract-wrong-genetic-effect-explains-why-couples-tend-marry-those-similar-dna-283514.
  4. http://theconversation.com/married-couples-have-similar-dna-26955.
  5. http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2014/05/19/people-more-likely-choose-spouse-similar-dna-finds-cu-boulder-study.
  6. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-spouse-genetics-20140519-story.html