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The social genome of friends and schoolmates in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health

Domingue, Benjamin W.; Belsky, Daniel W.; Fletcher, Jason M.; Conley, Dalton; Boardman, Jason D.; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan. (2018). The social genome of friends and schoolmates in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(4), 702-707. PMCID: PMC5789914

Domingue, Benjamin W.; Belsky, Daniel W.; Fletcher, Jason M.; Conley, Dalton; Boardman, Jason D.; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan. (2018). The social genome of friends and schoolmates in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(4), 702-707. PMCID: PMC5789914

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Humans tend to form social relationships with others who resemble them. Whether this sorting of like with like arises from historical patterns of migration, meso-level social structures in modern society, or individual-level selection of similar peers remains unsettled. Recent research has evaluated the possibility that unobserved genotypes may play an important role in the creation of homophilous relationships. We extend this work by using data from 5,500 adolescents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to examine genetic similarities among pairs of friends. Although there is some evidence that friends have correlated genotypes, both at the whole-genome level as well as at trait-associated loci (via polygenic scores), further analysis suggests that meso-level forces, such as school assignment, are a principal source of genetic similarity between friends. We also observe apparent social-genetic effects in which polygenic scores of an individual's friends and schoolmates predict the individual's own educational attainment. In contrast, an individual's height is unassociated with the height genetics of peers.


BMI
educational attainment
GWAS
polygenic score
social-genetic effect


JOUR



Domingue, Benjamin W.
Belsky, Daniel W.
Fletcher, Jason M.
Conley, Dalton
Boardman, Jason D.
Harris, Kathleen Mullan



2018


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

115

4

702-707


January 9, 2018




1091-6490 (Electronic) 0027-8424 (Linking)

10.1073/pnas.1711803115

PMC5789914


7247