Back in February, I wrote about my idea of using pheromones to help predict chemistry between online daters. Not surprisingly. it turns out there are several companies doing just that: GenePartner, LoveGene, and InstantChemistry. You order a kit, spit in a tube, and send your DNA off for analysis. (Better than my suggestion of taking a blood sample!)
The premise is simple: couples with different immune systems produce healthier offspring, and thus we are naturally attracted to a person whose immune system (measured, in this case, by something called the MHC: major histocompatibility complex) is different than ours.
GenePartner got a lot of press back in 2009, but since then they’ve been pretty quiet. LoveGene, based in the UK, has been around for a couple of years but seems to be getting off the ground just now–they’re getting more attention in the news.
But InstantChemistry has been getting the most buzz. In addition to measuring the immune system genes, they look at another one: the serotonin transporter gene. According to InstantChemistry:
When couples respond very strongly or differently to emotional situations, research has shown this creates conflict in relationships. Over time, couples reported decreases in their relationship satisfaction if they had conflict in how they responded to emotional situations.
Because of this, they claim to be able to use DNA to “discover your relationship compatibility”. You and your partner can both take the test ($215) and see if you match. And if not, “we give you ways to potentially mitigate and improve your relationship.” They are definitely upping the game with their offerings.
They’ve also partnered with some online dating sites, such as SingldOut. SingldOut launched in July, so it’s too soon to see if it’s working for their daters, but Business Insider reports they’ve sent out more than 200 kits already.
I love the idea of finding ways to predict chemistry between two people before they meet up in person. It’s an important thing to know and you often can’t tell just by looking at someone’s profile or even talking on the phone. I hope this is one more tool to make it easier for people to find love.
Sweaty t-shirt parties, by the way, continue. (They are also called by the more appetizing “pheromone dating”.) I enjoyed reading a first-person perspective on attending one of these parties by Katherine Templar Lewis. When she finally got to meet the guy whose smelly t-shirt she’d picked (#112) she did in fact find him attractive. But it only took a few minutes of conversation to discover, sadly–they didn’t have chemistry.