Biotechnology

Perfect (Bio)Chemistry

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No luck on Match.com? Angry that eHarmony excludes gays? Too gentile for jDate? Your prayers have been answered:

A new dating service that launched this week for Boston-area singles claims that it can get the chemistry right when fixing up potential mates—literally. ScientificMatch.com uses DNA samples from customers to match them with others who have different alleles for major histocompatibility complex genes.

MHC proteins sit on the surface of cells and detect pathogens, but they also appear to play a role in sexual attraction. In sniff tests of dirty t-shirts, people tend to be most attracted to the scent of the shirt whose owner has different MHC alleles from the sniffer. One explanation is that this phenomenon evolved to promote genetic diversity between mates.

For $1,995 and a cheek swab sent off for DNA analysis, customers can find the love of their lives, or so says Eric Holzle, a Massachusetts engineer and long-time dater. Kerry Grens spoke to him on December 11, the day the site went live. At the time, he was driving, and didn't know if anyone had signed up.

Read an interview with the founder here.

NB: For the record, reason's resident biotech early adopter Ron Bailey is already married, ladies. So don't go getting any ideas.

NEXT: Two Righties on Romnian Theology

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  1. Reinmoose | December 14, 2007, 3:52pm | #
    whoa

    I know, Ron Bailey married! Who’d a thunk?

  2. There was a sci fi book in the late 80’s, I think, which had a drug which made you fall in love. Totally, deeply, truly in love. So people would get together and pragmatically decide to take the drug to become partners for life. Had some interesting speculations on the nature of love.

    I cannot remember the name.

  3. My idea for a gene based business is to do genetic tests on dogs, specifically to determine their breeds. How many times have you talked to an owner of a dog of vague parentage and the owner said “we think he might be golden retriever and maltese but we are really not sure. I bet people would pay to find out that Rover is in fact 25% basenji, 25% chow and half german shepherd.

  4. Episiarch | December 14, 2007, 4:02pm | #

    There was a sci fi book in the late 80’s, I think, which had a drug which made you fall in love. Totally, deeply, truly in love. So people would get together and pragmatically decide to take the drug to become partners for life. Had some interesting speculations on the nature of love.

    I cannot remember the name.

    Erm, I remember a movie with the same premise…

  5. There was a Farscape episode like that too.

  6. John, 25% Basenji is too much Basenji. While I love mine, it takes quite a bit of patience to get used to that breed. Actually, I’m still learning to adapt.

  7. My idea for a gene based business is to do genetic tests on dogs, specifically to determine their breeds.

    It’s already being done.

  8. Wow. I just creamed my genes.

  9. See! There’s a perfectly logical reason to sniff underwear!

  10. Erm, I remember a movie with the same premise…

    Nope. That movie is about sex appeal and is dumb; the book dealt with emotional love.

    There was a Farscape episode like that too.

    I sort of remember that. Wasn’t it a whole story arc involving Ka D’ago and Chiana?

  11. Brian Courts,

    There goes another idea past me. Just like my idea about 10 years ago for a digital picture frame. Thanks for the link though.

  12. Nope. That movie is about sex appeal and is dumb; the book dealt with emotional love.

    It’s all just chemicals, baby!

  13. “For $1,995 and a cheek swab sent off for DNA analysis, customers can find the love of their lives”

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just swap spit?

  14. In sniff tests of dirty t-shirts

    I’m sure if I sniffed Jessica Alba’s panties I’d be convinced that she was the one God intended for me.

  15. I got plenty of genetic material if any ladies wanna analyze it!

  16. Wouldn’t this just produce dates of the most heterogenous genetics. All mixed race dates would be pretty cool, but since people don’t overwhelmingly choose that during non-blind dates, it seems to me that MHC incompatibility is a poor measure of how people perceive the attractiveness of others.

    MHC is generally viewed as an incest avoidance scheme especially for animals that may have poor ability to discern siblings and cousins from the general population.

    Also, there are limits in that a horse’s genes will be really different, so there must be limits to this technique.

  17. NB: For the record, reason’s resident biotech early adopter Ron Bailey is already married, ladies. So don’t go getting any ideas.

    Ron could always convert to Islam.

  18. Episiarch – was it Griffin’s Egg, by Michael Swanwick? Good book.

  19. I’m pretty sure there were a couple of Spider Robinson short stories that had the same theme of a drug taken by partners. Although, IIRC, it was called Truth, and caused both people to speak nothing but the complete and utter truth. There were a couple of stories about it. One was about a couple, where the guy was terrified of doing it. Another was about the effects it had as it spread throughout the world.

    Nephilium

  20. I’m sure if I sniffed Jessica Alba’s panties I’d be convinced that she was the one God intended for me.

    Hey my little Russie, that’s sooooo hot I’m getting wet just thinking about it! I’d so looooove to send you a pair! He he! Be a sweetie and send me $100 to cover shipping and… “handling” if ya know what I mean, and I’ll get them out to you right away!

  21. I’ll bet this place goes bankrupt after it’s sued by dissatisfied customers.

  22. This sounds like a great way to match me up with some rich sugar mama with money to burn.

  23. I’m sure if I sniffed Jessica Alba’s panties I’d be convinced that she was the one God intended for me.

    Bad news. She’s already exchanged genetic material with someone else.

  24. For $1,995 and a cheek swab sent off for DNA analysis, customers can find the love of their lives

    Anybody with that kind of cash laying around should have no trouble finding a date.

  25. I’m pretty sure there were a couple of Spider Robinson short stories that had the same theme of a drug taken by partners. Although, IIRC, it was called Truth, and caused both people to speak nothing but the complete and utter truth.

    Sounds pretty dystopian to me. But I’m a lawyer, so YMMV.

  26. He, pregnant can still be hot.

  27. Make that “Hey, pregnant …”

  28. J sub D | December 14, 2007, 5:38pm | #

    He, pregnant can still be hot.
    J sub D | December 14, 2007, 5:39pm | #

    Make that “Hey, pregnant …”

    I liked it better the first way.

  29. What if a person finds he is genetically meant to be with a cat?

  30. a Massachusetts engineer and long-time dater.

    What’s the name of that restaurant with all the goofy shit on the walls and the mozzarella sticks?

    Oh yeah, Shenanigans.

  31. Re: Dudester

    Maybe the cat wants to be with you too.

    I’ve read about cases with orangutans and chimps that were primarily raised by humans that only got sexually aroused around human females rather than females of their own kind. Caused problems in the captive breeding projects.

  32. Space Monkey. Cant blame the apes for that preferance. I myself am attracted to human females more than chimp or orangutan females. admittedly it took some getting used to.

  33. I shudder to think about the appearence of the women who would sign up for such a service.

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