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There is now solid proof that your group of friends are more related to you than you think

Ever feel like your besties understand you better than anyone? As in, it’s hard to believe you’re not actually related? Yup, us too—which is why we were thrilled (and yet a little unsurprised) that it turns out they might be more linked to us than we think.

Geneticists at Yale University and the University of California at San Diego recently discovered that unrelated friends share as much as one percent of their genes. And while that may not seem like a lot, experts say it’s actually very significant—and about as much genetic overlap as you might share with your fourth cousin.

“We have more DNA in common with the people we pick as friends than we do with strangers in the same population,” the paper’s co-author James Fowler says. What does that potentially mean? That we gravitate toward people we share traits with—and not just similar interest, but similar DNA.

Scientists think of this habit as an evolutionary trait: Based on environment, likes, or dislikes, early humans might have formed groups with similar members for survival reasons. This phenomenon is known as functional kinship, AKA why you’re sitting at the lunch table with the same friends every day instead of one bench over.

While we don’t need functional kinship to survive anymore (or do we? Where would we be without a BFF?!), today we still tend to choose friends who like to do the same things we do. Love the smell of coffee? You’ll probably wind up hanging out at a local Starbucks to study—and other people who also love coffee are likely frequent the cafe, too. Voila! Future friends with potentially similar gene pools.

These findings are more than just trivia—the study will also help scientists make calculated guesses about whether or not two individuals are likely to become friends. Sounds kind of like futuristic YA fiction to us…anybody looking for a book idea?

So, sound off: Think this is bizarre? Think it makes sense? We want to know!

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