Group of friends Friends are as genetically similar as fourth cousins, according to new study.
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Friends share similar DNA, study finds


Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people

Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of a feather flock together. New research suggests that people who are friends are as genetically alike as fourth cousins. For the study, investigators analyzed the DNA of pairs of friends versus pairs of strangers. It turns out that friends who don’t have any ancestors in common are still genetically similar because they tend to choose friends who have similar traits.

Significance:Study authors found that the genes we share most in common with our friends are also the genes that are evolving the fastest, which may help explain why this tendency is so universal. Researchers say that the fact that we have friends may have turbo-charged evolution, accelerating the rate that we evolve as a species.


Women in red perceived as more interested in sex

Location of study:U.S.

Results:In a recent study, researchers from the University of Rochester found that men perceive women in red as particularly attractive. The reason? They perceive them as sexually available or sexually interested. Men weren’t the only ones making snap judgments. When women were shown photos of other women, they pegged ladies in red as being more interested in sex, as well as more flirtatious and more sexually promiscuous. What’s more is that women wearing red were more likely to be labeled as unfaithful to their partners.

Significance:Researchers say that color is capable of conveying a wide array of information, regardless of our intentions. Understanding this may help us better navigate social situations, according to researchers.

The psychology of forgiveness

Location of study:U.S.

Study subjects: Over 350 adults

Results:In an attempt to better understand what makes us able to forgive and forget, researchers from the University of Miami studied the factors that play into forgiveness. It turns out that conciliatory gestures (like apologizing, “owning up” to mistakes and offering compensation) play a significant role. Investigators found that peacemaking efforts made by the transgressor helped in reducing anger. They also made victims feel less cautious about being hurt again in the future.

Significance:Similar to other group-living animals, humans also appear to have psychological processes for resolving conflicts and repairing damaged relationships that are considered valuable.

HPV test superior to Pap for predicting cervical cancer risk

Location of study:U.S.

Study subjects: Over one million women

Results: A new study suggests that a negative HPV test provides greater safety against future cervical cancer risk when compared to a negative Pap test. After examining HPV-negative tests, Pap-negative tests and negative co-tests, researchers found that women who screened negative for HPV were at about half the risk of cancer compared to women who screened negative for just the Pap. The cervical cancer risk for a woman with a negative Pap is low to begin with, but researchers say the results are still significant.

Significance:The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists currently recommends cervical cancer screenings beginning at age 21. These professional guidelines also recommend that women aged 30 to 65 participate in co-testing, which means that they’re screened with a Pap test and HPV test together. “But we have seen that Pap testing alone is still widely practiced in the U.S. without a concurrent HPV test,” said first author Dr. Julia Gage of the National Cancer Institute.

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