Genetic makeup not related to marrying, mating by education level

Washington: The gap, that was significant in the latter half of 20th century, between the more and less educated with respect to marriage and fertility, has not significantly altered the genetic makeup of subsequent generations.

“Undoubtedly, spouses are increasingly sorting themselves with an eye toward the education they’ve received, among other traits,” observes researcher Conley.

“But while the existence of education-association genes has been well-documented, choosing partners with education levels similar to our own has not resulted in children who have meaningfully altered the genetic makeup of the U.S. population,” he added.

Using the U.S. Health and Retirement Survey, the researchers examined variation in educational attainment, height, body mass index, and depression, along with variation in genes associated with these traits, across birth cohorts (1920 to 1955) in more than 2,000 white, non-Hispanic spousal pairs.

While they found acceleration in similar levels of educational attainment between spouses over time, this trend was not reflected in genes long known to be linked with educational attainment, in other words, the similarity between spouses with respect to education-associated genes did not vary significantly across cohorts.

Moreover, no notable trends in spousal similarity or fertility were observed with respect to the other traits studied (height, body mass index, and depression) or the corresponding genotypes.

The report has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)