If you’ve ever had the feeling that married couples tend to look alike, it’s not in your head. A new study published in the journal PLOS Genetics suggests that this is indeed the case — and that it’s because many pairs of spouses have the same ancestry. In other words, they were related even before they got hitched.
In the study, researchers looked at the genomes of 879 spousal pairs from three generations of white people with Northern and Western European, Southern European, and Ashkenazi ancestry. The group’s members had a clear tendency to marry people who shared their genes, but interestingly, this bias lessened with every generation. One possible reason is that people generally look for love in more places than their parents did — moving further from home, living in a greater variety of locations before marriage, even trying their hands at online dating.
If you’re weirded out by the idea of married couples having the same genes, here’s another, much cuter reason spouses might resemble each other: old research indicates that over time, married couples begin to look alike because they share emotions so often that they experience the same “subtle shifts in facial wrinkles and other facial contours.” Laughing at the same TV shows and furrowing your brow at the same rambunctious kid = much more romantic than sharing a forebear.
More on couples:
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