Genetics play a role in physical attraction, study finds
A new study shows individuals are more attracted to partners with similar physical characteristics to themselves. (Shutterstock.com/Andrey_Popov)
Published Friday, January 22, 2016 8:32AM EST
Forget fate, genetics could play more of a role than we might think in determining our physical attraction to certain romantic partners. A new study from researchers at the University of Edinburgh has linked the genes that determine a person's height to their choice of partner.
The research, published in the journal Genome Biology, studied genetic information from 13,000 heterosexual British couples, analyzing the composition of genes in each individual. The scientists investigated how a person's own genetic makeup could influence their attraction to a given partner.
The team, led by Dr. Albert Tenesa at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, found that the gene determining a person's height plays a role in their attraction to certain people ... of certain heights. In fact, the study found that people tend to choose partners of similar heights to themselves.
The researchers analyzed the different physical traits of each person's chosen partner and the significance of the genetic variation between the two people. The team found that 89 per cent of the genetic variation that determines a person's height also influenced their height preference in a mate.
What's more, researchers were able to predict the height of a person's partner with 13 per cent accuracy simply by studying genetic information determining their height. "The similarity in height between partners is driven by the observed physical appearance of the partner, specifically their height, rather than influenced by the social or genetic structure of the population we live in," Dr. Tenesa said.
All in all, it seems that people are more attracted to partners who resemble themselves, with similar physical characteristics. This hard-wired form of natural selection is an important discovery that the authors reiterate has important biological implications for human populations.