Genetic evidence of assortative mating in humans

Robinson, Matthew R., Kleinman, Aaron, Graff, Mariaelisa, Vinkhuyzen, Anna A. E., Couper, David, Miller, Michael B., Peyrot, Wouter J., Abdellaoui, Abdel, Zietsch, Brendan P., Nolte, Ilja M., van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V., Snieder, Harold, The LifeLines Cohort Study, Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium, Medland, Sarah E., Martin, Nicholas G., Magnusson, Patrik K. E., Iacono, William G., McGue, Matt, North, Kari E., Yang, Jian and Visscher, Peter M. (2017) Genetic evidence of assortative mating in humans. Nature Human Behaviour, 1 1: . doi:10.1038/s41562-016-0016

Author Robinson, Matthew R.
Kleinman, Aaron
Graff, Mariaelisa
Vinkhuyzen, Anna A. E.
Couper, David
Miller, Michael B.
Peyrot, Wouter J.
Abdellaoui, Abdel
Zietsch, Brendan P.
Nolte, Ilja M.
van Vliet-Ostaptchouk, Jana V.
Snieder, Harold
The LifeLines Cohort Study
Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium
Medland, Sarah E.
Martin, Nicholas G.
Magnusson, Patrik K. E.
Iacono, William G.
McGue, Matt
North, Kari E.
Yang, Jian
Visscher, Peter M.
Title Genetic evidence of assortative mating in humans
Journal name Nature Human Behaviour   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2397-3374
Publication date 2017-01-09
Year available 2017
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1038/s41562-016-0016
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 1
Issue 1
Total pages 13
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Language eng
Subject 2802 Behavioral Neuroscience
3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
3207 Social Psychology
Abstract In human populations, assortative mating is almost univer­sally positive, with similarities between partners for quantit­ative phenotypes, common disease risk, beha­vi­our6, social factors and personality. The causes and genetic consequences of assortative mating remain un­re­solved because partner similarity can arise from different mechanisms: phenotypic assortment based on mate choice, partner interaction and convergence in phenotype over time, or social homogamy where individuals pair according to social or environmental background. Here, we present theory and an analytical approach to test for genetic evidence of assortative mating and find a correlation in genetic value among partners for a range of phenotypes. Across three independent samples of 24,662 spousal pairs in total, we infer a correlation at trait-associated loci between partners for height (0.200, 0.004 standard error, SE) that matched the phenotypic correlation (0.201, 0.004 SE), and a correlation at trait-associated loci for BMI (0.143, 0.007 SE) that was significantly lower than the phenotypic value (0.228, 0.004 SE). We extend our analysis to the UK Biobank study (7,780 pairs), finding evidence of a correlation at trait-associated loci for waist-to-hip ratio (0.101, 0.041 SE), systolic blood pressure (0.138, 0.064 SE) and educational attainment (0.654, 0.014 SE). Our results imply that mate choice, combined with widespread pleiotropy among traits, affects the genomic architecture of traits in humans.
Keyword Genome-Wide Association
Body-Mass Index
Mate Choice
Finnish Twins
Human Height
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number: 0016

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
School of Psychology Publications
Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
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Created: Thu, 18 May 2017, 12:17:38 EST by Kirstie Asmussen on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute