Sex & Love

Forget JDate and eHarmony. Try GenePartner.

The incessant human search for love has led us here, to these embryonic days of the 21st century, where "chemistry" is no longer a colloquialism for attraction but rather a method for matchmaking. Would-be lovers for whom personality profiles fall … Read More

By / July 28, 2008

The incessant human search for love has led us here, to these embryonic days of the 21st century, where "chemistry" is no longer a colloquialism for attraction but rather a method for matchmaking. Would-be lovers for whom personality profiles fall short can now try gene matching–specifically, matches that are "based on the correlation of genes that express the HLA (human leukocyte antigen) molecules."

DNA dating comes to us courtesy of Gene Partner, a genetic research services company based in Switzerland. Their tag line happens to be "love is no coincidence", and the Gene Partner website actually explains that "sensing and classifying the HLA genes is something our bodies do automatically and subconsciously," which raises a question for me. Namely, if our bodies are already doing this "automatically and subconsciously," why should I pay $199 ($299 after the launch offer expires in December) to have Gene Partner do it for me?

Of course, Dr. Tamara Brown, Gene Partner co-founder and expert in molecular biology, is one step ahead: the service is being marketed as an accessory to online dating. The idea is that DNA matching can help internet daters avoid wasting their time meeting people with whom they might seem to have lots in common, but won't have good old chemistry. All that daters have to do is provide a DNA sample, with which the company creates a "GenePartner ID."

When GenePartner members meet, for example on a dating website, they can exchange their GenePartnerIDs and then log on to their own personal accounts on www.GenePartner.com. There they enter the other person's GenePartnerID to run a compatibility match and immediately receive the analysis results of the mutual genetic compatibility test while still online.

It sounds sensible, but also a bit presumptuous. After all, a huge number of people are going to have to sign up for the service to make it even close to worthwhile. Besides, only going out with your DNA "matches" could arguably limit your possibilities. What about the happy accidents that the universe is so good at orchestrating? The friends you make along the way that you might otherwise miss? The chance that while you might not vibe with one suitor, he or she might know someone else you'd dig. And what about the people you might have fantastic chemistry with, but absolutely nothing to talk about?