Your lifespan is related to that of your inlaws
May 20, 2019 10:52 AM Subscribe
Using 400 million records from Ancestry.com, researchers have determined that assortative mating (previously; not previously) has an influence on longevity. Their work has lowered the estimate of the impact of genetics on longevity from 15-30% to 7%. Paper.
Without seeing the future, it’s difficult to choose a spouse based on lifespan. But, as the authors discuss in the text, one complex factor that has been previously shown to be transferred within families and to also influence lifespan is socioeconomic status, which encompasses a variety of aspects, including wealth and education level. Thus, when people choose a partner with a similar educational background or familial level of wealth, they could be contributing to the observed effect of assortative mating.
“They make a pretty convincing case that most of the previously published estimates of the heritability of longevity are probably inflated by” assortative mating, says Richard Kerber, who studies longevity at the University of Louisville and was not involved in the work.