True love a cheek swab away? Startup says genes help determine compatibility
Published Thursday, October 3, 2013 10:22AM EDT
Tired of filling out endless questionnaires for your online dating profile with no success? A Toronto-based start-up is hoping to simplify the search for the perfect match by using DNA.
Instant Chemistry says it sets itself apart from the many dating services out there by offering clients genetic analysis to improve their chances at finding a successful, long-term relationship; the company uses its technology to hone in on a partner who is "biologically compatible."
The science is based on what is known about the human immune system and body scent, Instant Chemistry board member Dr. Sara Seabrook told CTV Toronto.
"The more different people's immune systems are, the more likely they're going to be physically attracted to each other," she said.
The company says we can subconsciously detect how similar or different another person's immune system is through their body scent, which is determined by genes found in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system.
The HLA system is a driving force in partner selection, Instant Chemistry says, with research showing that up to 40 per cent of physical attraction can be determined through genes alone.
"These instinctual preferences strongly affect human sexual attraction and help us chose our romantic partners," it says on its website.
Based on clients’ DNA samples – collected through a cheek swab – Instant Chemistry identifies and analyzes the genetic make-up of the client and assigns the client a compatibility score. This score is then used to assess the person's compatibility with other clients.
The company says these scores can help determine if two individuals will experience physical attraction when they meet for the first time.
Genetically compatible partners can also experience higher fertility rates and have healthier children, it adds.
Client Joe Crozier decided to take the plunge and give Instant Chemistry a try.
"Lack of time has been the biggest factor so far," he explained, as he provided a cheek swab to the company.
Crozier is using Instant Chemistry's services through the dating service "Misty River Introductions." Another Canadian dating service called "Camelot Introductions" is also offering its clients a chance to get their own compatibility scores.
Misty River CEO Linda Miller says the addition of the DNA analysis adds an important piece to the elusive true love puzzle.
"We've always been able to match people very well, but the chemistry part … that sort of magic part is hard to come by," she said.
But Scott Hutchison, a spokesperson for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, warned clients of services that collect genetic information to take the appropriate safety precautions.
Instant Chemistry says clients DNA samples are submitted anonymously using a numeric identifier instead of by client name. The only people who have access to the identifier are the client and the matchmaker.
With a report by CTV Toronto's Ashley Rowe