The 30 year-old nursing student has been trying for years to meet Mr.
Right—first on Grindr and Compatible Partners (e Harmony’s queer subsidiary), and more recently on Bumble—and has yet to find someone with whom he shares a real connection. So in December, while he was attending Houston’s Day For Night music festival, he stopped by a booth hawking cheek swabs, and handed over a few thousand cheek cells in the name of love.
For some 40 million Americans like Plata, who have yet to find lasting love online, it’s a tantalizing prospect.
But the science behind genetic attraction is shaky ground to build a relationship on, let alone a commercial enterprise.
The company will combine that information with personality traits and interests gleaned from your profile to populate your app with a carousel of genetically and socially optimized potential mates in your area.
To discourage mindless swiping, each match shows up as a blurred photo with a score of your compatibility, between 0 and 100.
MHC proteins are responsible for helping the immune system recognize invaders, and the idea of linking these immune system genes with sexual attraction goes all the way back to 1976.
Pheramor—and some biologists stretching back two decades—say yes.
According to them, it all comes down to pheromones.
Scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering found that male mice tended to choose female partners with the most dissimilar MHC genes, which the researchers guessed were detected through scent.
The leap to the T-shirt tests, then, was that since humans also chose partners with greater MHC gene variety, they must also be using smell, even if unconsciously.