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study about genetic similarities of friends

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#1
cocky4ever

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https://medium.com/t...og/2272bddcdb0d



The discovery that friends are as genetically similar as fourth cousins has huge implications for our understanding of human evolution, say biologists



The study of social networks has long shown that people tend to pick friends who are similar to them. But now it turns out the connection goes much deeper than that— our friends are also genetically similar to us.

At least that’s the conclusion of Nicholas Christakis at Yale University in New Haven and James Fowler at University of California, San Diego.

These guys have studied the genomes of almost 2000 Americans and found that those who are friends also share remarkable genetic similarities compared with those who are strangers. “Pairs of friends are, on average, as genetically similar to one another as fourth cousins,” they say.
That’s a fascinating result that raises some interesting questions. Most obviously: how come?

One possibility is that the people in the sample set are all distantly related. The genomes in question all come from the Framingham Heart Study, a well-known dataset associated with people on the east coast of the US who are generally white and of European ancestry. Perhaps the genetic links are simply a reflection of this common background.

Not so, say Christakis and Fowler. The correlation they have found exists only between friends but not between strangers. If this was a reflection of their common ancestry, then the genomes of strangers should be correlated just as strongly. “Pairs of (strictly unrelated) friends generally tend to be more genetically homophilic than pairs of strangers from the same population,” they point out.

There are certainly other processes that could lead to friends having similar genomes. One idea that dates back some 30 years is that a person’s genes causes them to seek out circumstances that are compatible with their phenotype. If that’s the case, then people with similar genes should end up in similar environments.

That makes sense. “If one individual builds a fire because he feels cold in the same circumstances as the other, both benefit,” say Christakis and Fowler.

What’s more, this idea may not only apply to the physical environment but also to the social environment. So people with similar genes may end up in similar social groups too.
Both of these factors make it more likely that your friends will have similar genes. But nobody has gathered evidence for this until now.

There may be another mechanism at work. One idea is that humans can somehow identify people with similar genetic make up, perhaps with some kind of pheromone detector. Indeed, Christakis and Fowler say that some of the genes they found in common are related to olfaction, a discovery they describe as “intriguing and supportive”.

Whatever the cause, the discovery that our friends are genetically similar to us has significant implications. “The subtle process of genetic sorting in human social relationships might have an important effect on a number of other biological and social processes,” say Christakis and Fowler.
For example, germs, viruses and even information may spread more (or less) easily amongst groups that share a particular genetic background.

More significantly, this may be the first evidence that our social environment is an evolutionary force that can influence our genetic make up. And if so, we may have evolved a predeliction to choose friends who are similar to us once we started to interact socially with other people who are unrelated.
That’s an important process that would especially speed up the evolution of phenotypes that cooperate well, say Christakis and Fowler.

There are caveats of course. This research will be controversial and others will want to be sure that Christakis and Fowler have not misinterpreted their data.
The research will be hard to reproduce. The Framingham Heart Study is unique in that it is a large database that includes both genetic data and friendship links. Christakis and Fowler acknowledge that there is no other like it.

But if the result is widely accepted it will be hugely influential.

One of the big mysteries associated with the development of human capabilities is that our evolution appears to be accelerating. After billions of years of relatively slow change, it created the marvel that is the human brain and consciousness, in the metaphorical blink of an eye.

Christakis and Fowler end their paper with the tantalising speculation their discovery may shed light on this mysterious process of acceleration that has produced the wonder of complex reasoning and consciousness.

#2
possumslayer

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Evolution is accelerating? Will I be able tooo see in the dark? or breathe underwater?

#3
cocky4ever

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View Postpossumslayer, on 19 January 2014 - 09:26 AM, said:

Evolution is accelerating? Will I be able tooo see in the dark? or breathe underwater?



#4
possumslayer

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Ever read "The Quickening"?

#5
cocky4ever

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View Postpossumslayer, on 19 January 2014 - 09:34 AM, said:

Ever read "The Quickening"?

Nah, but I've been taking suggestions for reading material. Gonna try to read a lot more this year.

#6
possumslayer

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This is an interesting article..... I hang around goofball / azzhole / fun loving types....butt sometimes they get on my nerves and I get on their nerves as well..

#7
dawgbit

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Interesting. But I wonder about the data. The study group itself casts doubt as to whether the genetic markers are a result of distant blood relations. East Coast white Anglos aren't a particularly diverse gene pool to begin with.  
I can trace the direct line of my fathers back to 1634 in America, and a Posted Image-ton further in Britain. Got blood kin from Delaware to Nebraska, to the Gulf Coast and all points in-between. Likelihood is, there's a genetic link somewhere to most all European bloodlines on the continent.

Posted Image, I might even be the dad to some of you young tappers' on here. Any of your moms' get around, if you know what I mean???? :trollface:

Edited by dawgbit, 19 January 2014 - 04:05 PM.


#8
possumslayer

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View Postdawgbit, on 19 January 2014 - 04:04 PM, said:

Interesting. But I wonder about the data. The study group itself casts doubt as to whether the genetic markers are a result of distant blood relations. East Coast white Anglos aren't a particularly diverse gene pool to begin with.  
I can trace the direct line of my fathers back to 1634 in America, and a Posted Image-ton further in Britain. Got blood kin from Delaware to Nebraska, to the Gulf Coast and all points in-between. Likelihood is, there's a genetic link somewhere to most all European bloodlines on the continent.

Posted Image, I might even be the dad to some of you young tappers' on here. Any of your moms' get around, if you know what I mean???? :trollface:
relatives in Delaware.... we may be kin.

#9
dawgbit

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Sykes.

My direct line landed in Virginia and branched out from there.

Dr Bryan Sykes (Oxford, UK) has an ongoing genome project using his/our surname. 90% of folks with that last name can trace back to a common area/ancestor around 900-1000 ad. Can go back in my direct line to the mid 1300's with a named ancestor.

#10
cocky4ever

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View Postdawgbit, on 19 January 2014 - 04:04 PM, said:

Interesting. But I wonder about the data. The study group itself casts doubt as to whether the genetic markers are a result of distant blood relations. East Coast white Anglos aren't a particularly diverse gene pool to begin with.  
I can trace the direct line of my fathers back to 1634 in America, and a Posted Image-ton further in Britain. Got blood kin from Delaware to Nebraska, to the Gulf Coast and all points in-between. Likelihood is, there's a genetic link somewhere to most all European bloodlines on the continent.

Posted Image, I might even be the dad to some of you young tappers' on here. Any of your moms' get around, if you know what I mean???? :trollface:

Like they said though, if the similarities were just due to everyone being somewhat closely related then the people who weren't friends would show similar connectedness. But as they showed the people who weren't close were less similar genetically than the people who were good friends.

But this seems like a pretty basic concept. I think a more interesting study would be one to determine if people who didn't get along at all(or were enemies) were more different genetically.

#11
possumslayer

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View Postdawgbit, on 19 January 2014 - 04:21 PM, said:

Sykes.

My direct line landed in Virginia and branched out from there.

Dr Bryan Sykes (Oxford, UK) has an ongoing genome project using his/our surname. 90% of folks with that last name can trace back to a common area/ancestor around 900-1000 ad. Can go back in my direct line to the mid 1300's with a named ancestor.
I can't get mine no further back than late 1920s....Posted Imageing russians

#12
L.A.Hog

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I have German,British,Irish and American Indian ancestors that I know of.I figure there are very few pure,from one country ancestry people,in this country unless they are fairly recent arrivals.

So the chances of sharing blood lines is pretty good I'd say.

Add the fact we all came from Adam and Eve and mystery solved.aha

Edited by L.A.Hog, 19 January 2014 - 04:32 PM.


#13
dawgbit

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@cocky4ever

Agreed.

Edit:too long...

Pretty interesting either way.

Edited by dawgbit, 19 January 2014 - 04:43 PM.


#14
possumslayer

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View PostL.A.Hog, on 19 January 2014 - 04:30 PM, said:

I have German,British,Irish and American Indian ancestors that I know of.I figure there are very few pure,from one country ancestry people,in this country unless they are fairly recent arrivals.

So the chances of sharing blood lines is pretty good I'd say.

Add the fact we all came from Adam and Eve and mystery solved.aha
Russian..Slavic.. polish...

#15
cocky4ever

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View Postpossumslayer, on 19 January 2014 - 04:26 PM, said:

I can't get mine no further back than late 1920s....Posted Imageing russians

My dad has his side traced back all the way to the 1600's when we arrived in Charleston from Northern Ireland. My mom's side has been traced back hundreds of years too. Once you get to the level of 6th cousin you basically aren't considered family. But to consistently be as close as 4th cousins with good friends is pretty good evidence of people being drawn towards similar people.






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