Social environment has sizable impact on health of mice

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For the first time, research in mice shows that the genetic makeup of an individual’s social partners contributes to their state of health. Unexpectedly, the genetics of social partners were found to affect wound healing and body weight as well as behavior. The methods used to detect ‘social genetic effects’ help future research into the mechanisms whereby one individual influences another. Findings underscore that research into the genetics of disease should include both individuals and their partners.

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