Rxivist logo

Indirect assortative mating for human disease and longevity

By Konrad Rawlik, Oriol Canela-Xandri, Albert Tenesa

Posted 07 Sep 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/185207 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41437-019-0185-3)

Phenotypic correlations of couples for phenotypes evident at the time of mate choice, like height, are well documented. Similarly, phenotypic correlations among partners for traits not directly observable at the time of mate choice, like longevity or late-onset disease status, have been reported. Partner correlations for longevity and late-onset disease are comparable in magnitude to correlations in 1st degree relatives. These correlations could arise as a consequence of convergence after mate choice, due to initial assortment on observable correlates of one or more risk factors (e.g. BMI), referred to as indirect assortative mating, or both. Using couples from the UK Biobank cohort, we show that longevity and disease history of the parents of white British couples is correlated. The correlations in parental longevity are replicated in the FamiLinx cohort. These correlations exceed what would be expected due to variations in lifespan based on year and location of birth. This suggests the presence of assortment on factors correlated with disease and lifespan, which show correlations across generations. Birth year, birth location, Townsend Deprivation Index, height, waist to hip ratio, BMI and smoking history of UK Biobank couples explained ~70% of the couple correlation in parental lifespan. For cardiovascular diseases, in particular hypertension, we find significant correlations in genetic values among partners, which support a model where partners assort for risk factors genetically correlated with cardiovascular disease. Identifying the factors that mediate indirect assortment on longevity and human disease risk will help to unravel what factors affect human disease and ultimately longevity.

Download data

  • Downloaded 431 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 88,550
    • In genetics: 3,654
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 103,017
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 122,784

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide