New DNA dating sites take the mystery out of finding your perfect match. But do they work? I guess it depends on your definition of "perfect."
Back in the dinosaur age when I was out on the dating scene, I did something that may seem archaic nowadays. I answered a personal ad in the newspaper. It was from a young man looking to meet a young woman who liked fine dining and walks in the rain. He had me at hello.
I went on to marry that man and have two beautiful daughters with him. It was only after we met and got to know each other that I learned everything there was to know about him, his parents, his family and other things about his family history. I learned that his father had died at age 48 of a heart defect, that his half-sister inherited the same defect, that his mother had gallbladder problems and that his sister developed thyroid problems after giving birth.
I also learned about his personality traits, moral values and goals in life.
Would knowing have changed my mind?
If I had known of his possible genetic predisposition to these health problems or other traits that would eventually affect our bond (we divorced after 15 years), would that have affected my decision to date him, marry him or have children with him? Maybe. Maybe not.
How would he answer these questions? (Let’s not even go there).
A moot question
Because DNA testing was unavailable in those days, the question is moot.
What I do know is that it was impossible to know the precise genetic makeup of your future partner in those days. Nowadays, however, it’s a whole other story.
Photo: linh tinh
DNA dating sites are popping up all over, offering prospective life mates the chance to compare personality traits and their DNA to find their “perfect” match.
But here’s the rub.
What if you’re perfectly compatible with someone DNA-wise but you’d rather kiss a toad than lay a finger on the person? I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.
The SingldOut DNA test measures two sets of genes: One is related to determining the length of your serotonin transporters and the others, the Human Leukocyte Antigens or HLA—are indicators of the immune system. This is based on research that suggests the serotonin gene can gauge your susceptibility to depression, and that people are more attracted to people whose immune systems are dissimilar from their own...
O’Connor discovered after interviewing several DNA dating site owners that, according to the entrepreneurs, attraction is about more than being drawn to someone’s smile, or eyes, or their values. Rather, it’s an “intrinsic system in the human body—with hormones and neurotransmitters pathways—which you can read like this: I like her/him. It's not the bright smile, it's not the blue eyes or the long wavy hair—it's something else. And people can't put their finger on it, they just feel it's something," said GenePartner founder Tamara Brown.
Nurture vs. nature
Gene Partner argues that “the probability for successful and long-lasting romantic relationships is greatest in couples with high genetic compatibility.”
The company’s website goes on to say that “With genetically highly compatible people we feel that rare sensation of perfect chemistry. This is the body’s receptive and welcoming response when immune systems harmonize and fit well together. Genetic compatibility results in:
- An increased likelihood of forming an enduring and successful relationship
- A more satisfying sex life
- Higher fertility rates”
So is it possible that science has found a way to find our perfect match so that we can finally trust those butterflies we get in the early stages of love, rather than worry the attraction is only physical or temporary?
If the answer is yes, then I might suggest my daughters try DNA dating to save themselves a whole lot of searching. Conversely, I might not suggest anything at all and leave their life choices entirely up to them (like all good mothers should do anyway), hoping they find their one true love on their own.
At any rate, I know a lot of people nowadays who are looking for love and affection, and a feeling of connectedness. And I honestly hope they find it, whether it comes from spitting into a vial, or bumping into someone on the street and feeling their heart skip a beat.
There are no guarantees in life, so it will be interesting to see if DNA dating replaces good old-fashioned coincidence, fate or even arranged marriages in some cases.
Any scientists out there willing to track couples from both sides of the dating fence?
*Top photo by: Leland Francisco
The nuviun industry network is intended to contribute to discussion and stimulate debate on important issues in global digital health. The views are solely those of the author.