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People pick friends who are genetically similar to themselves: study

Published on Jul 15, 2014 7:16 AM
A woman applies lipstick to a friend in a restaurant at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona on July 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The truism that friends are the family you choose may be more accurate than you might suppose.

A study published on Monday found that people are apt to pick friends who are genetically similar to themselves - so much so that friends tend to be as alike at the genetic level as a person's fourth cousin.

The findings were based on an examination of about 1.5 million markers of genetic variations in a group of nearly 2,000 people who had taken part in a long-running health study based in Massachusetts.

The researchers compared people identified as friends to those who were not.

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