01:01am Monday 14 October 2019

Physical attraction linked to genes that control height

Researchers have discovered that the genes determining our height also influence why people are attracted to partners of similar heights to themselves.

Scientists at The University of Edinburgh’s The Roslin Institute, a BBSRC strategically-funded institute, and MRC Human Genetics Unit analysed genetic information from more than 13,000 heterosexual couples.

They found that 89% of the genetic variation that determines a person’s height also influences their height preference in a mate.

By analysing the genetic information that determines a person’s height, researchers say they can predict the height of that person’s partner with 13% accuracy.

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

It is published in the journal Genome Biology and was funded by BBSRC and the Medical Research Council.

Dr Albert Tenesa, who led the study, said: “How we choose our partners has important biological implications for human populations. This study brings us closer to understanding the complex nature of sexual attraction and the mechanisms that drive human variation.”



External contact

Jen Middleton, Press and PR Office, The University of Edinburgh

+44 131 650 6514




BBSRC Media Office


+44 1793 414694

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