Can’t help being life of party? Thank your genesJanuary 28th, 2009 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 28 (IANS) Have you ever wondered that genes could be the key to your popularity and being the life of any party and how it helps you network socially? Researchers from the universities of Harvard and California-San Diego have found evidence showing our standing in a social network that is influenced partly by genes.
This is the first study to examine the inherited characteristics of social networks and to establish a genetic role in the formation and configuration of these networks.
The research was conducted by Nicholas Christakis, Harvard professor of sociology, Christopher Dawes and James Fowler, both of University of California San Diego (UCSD).
“We were able to show that our particular location in vast social networks has a genetic basis,” said Christakis. “In fact, the beautiful and complicated pattern of human connection depends on our genes to a significant measure.”
While it might be expected that genes affect personality, these findings go further, and illustrate a genetic influence on the structure and formation of an individual’s social group.
The researchers found that popularity, or the number of times an individual was named as a friend, and the likelihood that those friends know one another, were both strongly heritable.
The study included national data (from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health) for the social networks of 1,110 adolescent twins, both fraternal and identical.
The researchers compared the social networks of the identical twins to those of the fraternal twins, and found greater similarity between the identical twins’ social network structure than the fraternal twins’ networks, said a UCSD release.
These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tags: california san diego, dawes, fraternal twins, genes, genetic basis, genetic influence, harvard professor, identical twins, james fowler, jan 28, national academy of sciences, national longitudinal study, national longitudinal study of adolescent health, network structure, nicholas christakis, proceedings of the national academy, proceedings of the national academy of sciences, social group, social networks, university of california san diego