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assortative mating as·sor·ta·tive mating (ə-sôr'tə-tĭv)
Nonrandom mating in which individuals mate preferentially according to phenotype.
in human genetics, a statement of the frequency at which individuals mate with persons of similar phenotype or, conversely, with persons of different phenotype (see phenotype). Assortative mating refers to a statement about the degree of phenotypic randomness of mating patterns in human beings; in a more specific sense the term can mean the selection of a mate on the basis of phenotype or with phenotype as one of the major criteria. For example, in the United States most people choose not to marry outside their own racial groups; this is an instance in which assortative mating is not random, in the first sense of the word, and in which assortative mating is in practice, in the second sense of the word. Positive assortative mating, or homogamy, exists when people choose to marry persons similar to themselves (e.g., when white marries white, tall person marries tall person); this type of selection is very common. Negative assortative mating is the opposite case, when people avoid marrying persons similar to themselves.