Amorous Alleles: Dating Sites Set You up by DNA

dna love

WHILE our grandparents and even our parents might have had a harder time of it, there’s no shortage of options and tools at your disposal when it comes to finding your one true love these days. We’re way beyond the average oh-we-met-in-a-bar or our-friends-introduced-us. What used to be uncharted territories — dating sites organized by specific hobbies or eating preferences, allowing us to get matched up by IQ or even by facial characteristics — is now the norm for many people. Hey, we all have our types. But for those who feel the kind of options we’ve had so far are too sophomoric and not scientific enough, well, today’s your lucky day: there’s a new set of filters you can click on the next time you think about signing up for a dating site — DNA compatibility.

Yup. Why settle for a match made in heaven when you can have one that’s made in a science lab? Companies are now allowing potential daters to use their own DNA to potentially match up with those cuties that also happen to have high biological compatibility. and are two of the biggest players in this dating game. The process involves stuffing a sample of saliva into a DNA kit that you send back to the company, and then you wait for the magic to happen.

But what exactly is “high biological compatibility?” According to certain scientific theories, our best genetic matches can be found by looking at our immune system responses, as well as our serotonin uptake controller. Serotonin, in a nutshell, is the neurotransmitter our bodies produce that functions to regulate mood, most oftentimes based on the availability of resources in our immediate surroundings. Studies have shown that the relationships that have been most successful are those in which the couples have different versions of the gene that expresses the serotonin uptake controller. The best way to find the people with whom you have relationship potential? Hawk a good loogie or two, apparently.

This isn’t the first time people have tried to marry the worlds of science and romance. Remember that story about pheromone dating, where people sniff the T-shirts that potential dates slept in for a few nights before bringing them in baggies to a speed-dating event? It hinges on the (pseudo) science of pheromones, those subtle airborne hormones that we are constantly picking up on and which subconciously inform many of our decisions and judgment calls. Perhaps people are fed up leaving love to fate and chance, and want to see what cold, hard, dependable science has to bring the table?

While there is probably a lot to say for dating by true physical attraction at the genomic level, many leading voices in the scientific community argue that you’d have to look at a lot more DNA factors than just the two considered in this mail-away spit test to get a true sense of genetic compatibility. Plus, just because your DNA says you might make a long-term match with someone doesn’t necessarily mean mean you’ll actually like the person your genes claim you will.

But if you’re trying to completely quit your habit of making snap judgments based on socioeconomic factors, jobs, location, and straight-up physical looks, maybe letting a scientist do some of the work for you isn’t the worst idea out there.


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