James Y. Zou, Danny S. Park, Esteban G. Burchard, Dara G. Torgerson, Maria Pino-Yanes, Yun S. Song, Sriram Sankararaman, Eran Halperin, and Noah Zaitlen; (2015)
Nonrandom mating in human populations has important implications for genetics and medicine as well as for economics and sociology. In this study, we performed an integrative analysis of a large cohort of Mexican and Puerto Rican couples using detailed socioeconomic attributes and genotypes. We found that in ethnically homogeneous Latino communities, partners are significantly more similar in their genomic ancestries than expected by chance. Consistent with this, we also found that partners are more closely related—equivalent to between third and fourth cousins in Mexicans and Puerto Ricans—than matched random male–female pairs. Our analysis showed that this genomic ancestry similarity cannot be explained by the standard socioeconomic measurables alone. Strikingly, the assortment of genomic ancestry in couples was consistently stronger than even the assortment of education. We found enriched correlation of partners’ genotypes at genes known to be involved in facial development. We replicated our results across multiple geographic locations. We discuss the implications of assortment and assortment-specific loci on disease dynamics and disease mapping methods in Latinos.