People with Similar Genes Become Friends, Study Says

October 3, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. biological /ˌbaɪ əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/ (adj.) – referring to biology or anything that is natural
Example: Her biological father died when she was two years old.

2. resemble /rɪˈzɛm bəl/ (v.) – to be the same in appearance or nature
Example: Many people say that I resemble my father.

3. descent /dɪˈsɛnt/ (n.) – refers to a person's origin and ancestry, specifically his/her family, race, or nationality
Example: His mother is of American descent.

4. preference /ˈprɛf ər əns/ (n.) – the taste or the liking of someone or something over the other
Example: My sister and I have almost the same preference in clothes.

5. hit off /hɪt ɔf, ɒf/ (v.) – to like each other immediately
Example: When I first met my best friend, we hit off right away.


Read the text below.
People who have similar genetic make-up are likely to become friends according to a study conducted by Framingham [FREY-ming-ham] Heart Study Massachusetts.
After analyzing the genetic details of 1,932 people, scientists compared pairs of DNA of unrelated friends against pairs of DNA of unrelated strangers. The researchers found that one percent of the genes of friends match each other than with that of the strangers. This biological connection is similar to those of fourth cousins or those who share the same great-great-great grandparents.

Co-author Nicholas Christakis [kris-TA-khis] from Yale University said that one percent similarity may be nothing for other people but significant for geneticists [juh-NET-uh-sists]. This somehow explains why people manage to choose friends that resemble their family even among a large number of possibilities.

Interestingly, most of the participants in the study are of different descent. This further shows that genetic ties among friends are stronger than those of the same ethnic background and ancestry.

The most common gene that friends share was the one involved in a person’s sense of smell. A person who loves the aroma of coffee and makes a frequent visit to a café can easily make friends there because of the same preference of smell. This could be one factor why people who share the same preference in fragrance hit off easily.

On the other hand, it has been found that people who become friends have different genetic makeup when it comes to their immune system.   

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you find the results of the study mentioned in the article true to you? Why or why not?
·         What do you think is the importance of the results of the study mentioned in the article?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of having friends who have different interests from us?
·         What could be the disadvantages of being friends with someone different from us?

October 3, 2014