Study finds people's friends genetically similar to them

Diversity mongers lament.  It turns out that people’s good friends tend to share a lot of genes with them. Are we hard wired to associate with people who share our genetic traits? CNN reports:

 A new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests friends may be more than just people you lean on when you're not strong; they might actually help you carry on -- genetically speaking.

"Looking across the whole genome, we find that on average, we are genetically similar to our friends," said James Fowler, coauthor of the study and professor of medical genetics and political science at UC San Diego. "We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population."

Over the past decade, Fowler and coauthor Nicholas Christakis, professor of sociology, evolutionary biology and medicine at Yale, have studied the science behind social networks. They're seeking a biological explanation behind some long held social notions.

"We've all heard the phrase, 'Birds of a feather flock together,' but we want to know why," Fowler said. (snip)

"We have found that we share about 1% of our genes with our friends," said Fowler. "On average our studies indicate we are as genetically similar to our friends so much as we are our with our fourth cousins or people who share great-great-great grandparents."

This makes great sense. But it flies in the face of the whole “our strength is diversity” ideology, which insists we must endeavor to find people who are genetically different. I will stipulate that it can be interesting and enriching to associate with people who have different interests and abilities than I do; in my life, I chose to spend years in Japan and study the language, culture, history and society, and benefitted greatly.

But insisting that there is something wrong with social homogeneity may go against our hard wiring.

Diversity mongers lament.  It turns out that people’s good friends tend to share a lot of genes with them. Are we hard wired to associate with people who share our genetic traits? CNN reports:

 A new study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests friends may be more than just people you lean on when you're not strong; they might actually help you carry on -- genetically speaking.

"Looking across the whole genome, we find that on average, we are genetically similar to our friends," said James Fowler, coauthor of the study and professor of medical genetics and political science at UC San Diego. "We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population."

Over the past decade, Fowler and coauthor Nicholas Christakis, professor of sociology, evolutionary biology and medicine at Yale, have studied the science behind social networks. They're seeking a biological explanation behind some long held social notions.

"We've all heard the phrase, 'Birds of a feather flock together,' but we want to know why," Fowler said. (snip)

"We have found that we share about 1% of our genes with our friends," said Fowler. "On average our studies indicate we are as genetically similar to our friends so much as we are our with our fourth cousins or people who share great-great-great grandparents."

This makes great sense. But it flies in the face of the whole “our strength is diversity” ideology, which insists we must endeavor to find people who are genetically different. I will stipulate that it can be interesting and enriching to associate with people who have different interests and abilities than I do; in my life, I chose to spend years in Japan and study the language, culture, history and society, and benefitted greatly.

But insisting that there is something wrong with social homogeneity may go against our hard wiring.

RECENT VIDEOS