This Gives A New Meaning To "We Are Family"

by Abby Johnston

When I was growing up I called my best friend my sister. It's the plight of the only child, but to this day she's still listed at my "sister" on Facebook. It turns out, there could be a little grain of hope for us sibling-less best friends: A new study shows that you have more DNA in common with your friends than you do strangers. So that's why Lesley and I both have green eyes and brown hair! This adds a whole new level to LYLAS.

Researchers compared the genes of nearly 2,000 people who were not biologically related and found that friends had more DNA in common than strangers. Cue another round of "We Are Family."

Nicholas Christakis, a Yale social science researcher involved with the study, told Live Science that they conducted the research "to provide a deep evolutionary account of the origins and significance of friendship."

"Humans are unique in that we create long-term connections with people of our species," Christakis said in an interview to Live Science. "Why do we do that? Why do we make friends? Not only that, we prefer the company of the people we resemble."

Oh, so we're just narcissistic? Meh, well. I mean, my friends are just pretty. You know, like me. We just can't help it.

Mary Turner/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The research showed that some friends share one percent of the human genome, or the same level of genetic relation as people with a fourth cousin of a great-great-great grandfather.

So 1 percent doesn't sound like a lot, but Christakis said that it is a significant number to genetic researchers. The most commonly-shared gene is the olfactory, or sense of smell. The researchers created a "friendship score" that could predict whether people could be friends based on their genes.

"What we're reporting is the difference between people who are friends, and people who could be friends, all from the same ancestry," study researcher James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics at the University of California, San Diego, told Live Science.

It sounds like a reality show just fell into their laps, match housemates up, Real World style, based on their genetic backgrounds. I'm taking suggestions for names, currently.

So, go grab your lookalike best friend, put on Sister Sledge, and talk about how everything smells the same to you. You're just like my sister, girl.