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This subtle genetic similarity was observed across the entire genome and at sets of genomic locations linked with specific traits—educational attainment and body mass index—a phenomenon we term “social–genetic correlation.” We also find evidence of a “social–genetic effect” such that the genetics of a person’s friends and schoolmates influenced their own education, even after accounting for the person’s own genetics.
Humans tend to form social relationships with others who resemble them.
In step 3, we evaluate a potential implication of genetic similarity among friends: social–genetic effects, or the association between the genotypes of one’s social peers and one’s own phenotype (net of own genotype).
We tested whether friends were more genetically similar to one another compared with random pairs of individuals.
Of the adolescents surveyed, 20,745 were enrolled in a longitudinal study that included in-home interviews with the adolescents and their parents and that followed the adolescents prospectively across four waves of interviews spanning 14 y.Adult friends are, on average, more genetically similar than random pairs from the population (13).Genetic similarity among friendship networks is important for at least two reasons.We considered the genetics of three phenotypes: height, body mass index (BMI) (a measure of adiposity), and educational attainment.