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Does Similar DNA Make For A Happy Marriage? Study Says Yes

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder say spouses tend to be more genetically similar than two random people plucked off the street.
Posted at 1:41 PM, May 20, 2014

Happily married? A new study says you may have your genes to thank.

And no, we're not talking about your favorite pair of Levis. (Via Wikimedia Commons / M62)

"It's more than just keeping happy couples together. Love, we're talking about. It could actually be in your DNA. That's according to a new study out of the University of Colorado at Boulder." (Via KRIV)

That's right — according to new research, spouses tend to be more genetically similar than any two random people plucked off the street.

To come to this conclusion, researchers analyzed genetic data from 825 non-Hispanic, white, heterosexual Americans who participated in the ongoing U.S. Health and Retirement Study, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. (Via WTXF)

They compared the similarity of the DNA of married couples with the similarity of random individuals. The result? Married couples have more similar DNA segments than randomly paired people do. (Via KPHO)

As the study's lead researcher told HealthDay News, this is probably because people who have similar genes are more likely to cross paths. "Genes drive so many things that can structure opportunities and outcomes that determine who we mate."

LiveScience notes genes may determine certain "opportunities and outcomes" like ethnic background, level of education, religion and even body weight.

The study's researchers claim these results could change the statistical models scientists use to understand differences between human populations.

But the director of the Institute for Human Genetics at the University of California, San Francisco told HealthDay News he's skeptical. "This [study] seems to suggest that mate choice is based on genes. The genes are, in a sense, a bystander. ... It may be simply more an issue of local geography."

The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.