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Study Finds Genetic Similarities Between Friends

First Posted: Jul 15, 2014 07:53 AM EDT
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A study says that DNA codes are more likely to be similar between close friends than strangers.

Professor James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and the study co-author said  that it's an important theory from the view point of human evolution and it's beyond the effect of shared ethnicity,  reports the Associated Press

The researchers observed 1,932 participants taken from data of a health study in Framingham, Massachusetts from the 1970s to the early 2000s.  1,367 pairs were identified as close friends and they were compared against pairs of strangers

The researchers then looked at  467,000 locations in the DNA code of each participant. They looked for how similar the friends  pairs were and compared that to how similar the stranger pairs were.

Fowler said it's not clear why friends have more similarity than strangers in DNA strands. He explains that the possible reasons might be that similar genes lead people to similar environments, which gives them a chance to meet. Another possibility is that people who share certain genes also share skills that become more valuable when the people work together.

"We're not really making claims about specific candidate genes here, but we're making claims about structural characteristics across the entire genome." Prof Fowler told to BBC News.

The authors also believed that the feelings of altruism developed over time because of DNA similarities between friends.

Francisco Ayala, who studies evolutionary genetics at the University of California, Irvine, said the study's results surprised him. But "the statistics are there" to back up the conclusions.

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