Genetic variation in the fundamental building blocks of human social networks

26 September 2009

James Fowler
Department of Political Science
UC San Diego


Social networks influence the evolution of cooperation and evince strikingly systematic patterns in humans. Both of these facts suggest that the topological attributes of human social networks might have a genetic basis. Here we show that three fundamental network properties (degree, transitivity, and centrality) are heritable. Network theorists have neglected this unique property of human social networks, and extant network models do not account for genetic variation. Thus, we propose an alternative "attract and introduce" model that generates significant heritability as well as other important network features.


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