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Study finds Married Couples Share Similar DNA

Update Date: May 20, 2014 03:04 PM EDT

When people decide to get married, several factors come into play. For example, people might want to marry someone who shares similar hobbies, principles and beliefs. Now, according to a new study, couples have way more in common than they believe. Researchers from the University of Colorado-Boulder found that married couples tend to have similar genetic material.

"It's well known that people marry folks who are like them," lead author Benjamin Domingue, a research associate at the UC-Boulder's Institute of Behavioral Science, said according to the University's press release. "But there's been a question about whether we mate at random with respect to genetics."

Domingue and his research team analyzed the genetic makeup of 825 heterosexual married couples. The couples were all non-Hispanic white Americans and the data came from the Health and Retirement study, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. In each pair, the researchers compared 1.7 million points that could indicate any genetic similarities between the spouses. The researchers discovered that couples shared more genetic similarities in comparison to any random strangers picked off from the street.

"Siblings share on average about half their genes, and even within siblings there is variation on that between 40 percent to 60 percent," Domingue said reported in Philly. "The ranges we're looking at between a married couple are much, much smaller, but you do see that spouses share similarities."

The researchers theorized that since genes play a huge role in people's personalities and traits, such as intelligence, people who are more alike are more likely to cross paths with one another.

"Genes drive so many things that can structure opportunities and outcomes that determine who we mate," Domingue said.

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

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