Physical attraction linked to genes that control our height, says study

Researchers say they can predict the height of a person’s partner with 13 per cent accuracy

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Indy Lifestyle Online

While many put finding love down to chance, who we are attracted to may have far less romantic origins and instead be down to our genes.

Researchers have discovered the genes that determine how tall we are may also influence the people we are attracted to, with most people being attracted to partners of a similar height to themselves.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and MRC Human Genetics Unit analysed genetic information from more than 13,000 heterosexual couples.  

The study found 89 per cent of the genetic variation determining a person’s height also influences their height preference in their significant other.

By analysing these genes, researchers say they can predict the height of the individual’s partner with 13 per cent accuracy.

The study, published in the journal, Gene Biology, used data from participants in the UK Biobank, a major genetic study into the role of nature and nurture in health and disease.

Dr Albert Tenesa, who led the study, told Science Daily: “The similarity in height between partners is driven by the observed physical appearance of the partner, specifically their height, rather than influenced by the social or genetic structure of the population we live in."

“How we choose out partners has important biological implications for human populations," added Dr Tenesa.

“This study brings us closer to understanding the complex nature of sexual attraction and the mechanisms that drive human variation.”

Last year researchers found more evidence to suggest attraction was based on more than looks.

Scientists at an American university claimed humour is a key factor in “sexual selection”, with women appearing to be more attracted to men who make them laugh.