Surrounded by friends? It’s all in your genes

By | January 29, 2009

Surrounded by friends? It's all in your genes

Are you a social butterfly, or do you prefer being at the edge of a group of friends? Either way, your genes and evolution may play a major role, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

While it may come as no surprise that genes may help explain why some people have many friends and others have few, the researchers said, their findings go just a little farther than that.

“Some of the things we find are frankly bizarre,” said Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University in Massachusetts, who helped conduct the study.

“We find that how interconnected your friends are depends on your genes. Some people have four friends who know each other and some people have four friends who don’t know each other. Whether Dick and Harry know each other depends on Tom’s genes,” Christakis said in a telephone interview.

Christakis and colleague James Fowler of the University of California San Diego are best known for their studies that show obesity, smoking and happiness spread in networks.

For this study, they and Christopher Dawes of UCSD used national data that compared more than 1,000 identical and fraternal twins. Because twins share an environment, these studies are good for showing the impact that genes have on various things, because identical twins share all their genes while fraternal twine share just half.

“We found there appears to be a genetic tendency to introduce your friends to each other,” Christakis said.

via NewsDaily: Surrounded by friends? It’s all in your genes.

I’ve never been the type to introduce my friends to each other on purpose, but I always appreciated my friends who are that type of person.

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