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Phenotypes of an individual are affected by genotypes of its partner.

Pictured is an artist's interpretation of how a couple might experience 'social genetic effects', and how research could help improve health. Two individuals have conflicting sleeping preferences—one is a 'morning person' and the other a 'night owl'. The morning person has an illness, but their doctor does not think about probing their sleeping habits when reviewing potential contributing factors. The doctor could be prompted to do so if there was a clear relationship between the patient's disease and genotypes of his or her partner that are known to control sleeping patterns. Armed with the right advice, the couple could make changes to allow the morning person to get the sleep they need to heal. See Baud et al.

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Image Credit: Illustration by Spencer Phillips, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)