Sure, You Are Soulmates but Are You a Genetic Match Made in Heaven?

By CooperGenomics — February 8, 2018

1 min read

Perhaps you’re looking for someone who is your food soulmate (Sushi? Yes please!) and enjoys This is Us almost as much as you. Or maybe you want someone who finishes your sentences, agrees that public displays of affection should be done in moderation, and replaces the toilet paper roll with the paper going “over” and not “under”.

As you eat candy hearts or whole boxes of chocolate (no judgement) and wonder where Mr. or Mrs. right may be, feel free to ponder that there are actually theories (and even companies) who base matchmaking on genetics. They are referred to as DNA Dating Services. No, we’re serious.

In 1998 (a bit of a throwback, think Pepsi Sugar), the NY Times published this piece on research that Professor Dr. Wedekind performed at the University of Bern in Switzerland. In this study, he asked female volunteers to smell T-shirts worn by men for three consecutive days. Pause for a moment to give respect to these brave female volunteers. Based on these scents, they were asked to rate the shirts based on which ones they felt the most attracted to. The good professor (hopefully after throwing these shirts in the laundry) analyzed a particular part of DNA that codes for “HLA” molecules. HLA does NOT stand for “Hot Love Affair”, but instead “Human Leukocyte Antigen”. It is related to your immune system and apparently, the women tended to favor T-shirts from men whose HLA molecules were dissimilar from their own molecules. Dare we say it – opposites attract?

This was called the “Sweaty T-Shirt Study”. Anyone riding a crowded New York City subway in the dead of June would most likely have something to say about the findings of this study, but even species such as mice have shown that pheromones can inspire males and females to be attracted to one another. With the mice, there was an experiment done that showed scent was a factor in attraction between males and females mice who were genetically similar with the exception of a specific kind of immune system gene. I’m not certain how mice show attraction to one another but I’ll leave that to whoever performed this study.

So, is it the scent that attracts us? While Bath and Body Works’ Sandalwood Suede cream says yes, scientists still aren’t sure. In fact, there are still studies trying to prove if pheromones even exist.

In 2004, scientists in Israel did one study that indicated that some have a stronger desire for sex, simply because of their genetic makeup. While this is compelling, we still don’t feel comfortable recommending that when you ask your parents about family history, you have their libido on that questionnaire.

Whether there’s a science to love is definitely a topic for debate but for this Valentine’s Day, we suggest skipping having cupid spit in a test tube or take a blood test and just enjoy one of those big heart shaped boxes of chocolates together!