DNA Dating Passes Smell Test

When I was dating long ago, the notion of "biological compatibility (BC)" never entered my mind and I don't know quite what it is now. Maybe, that's why I didn't get dates.

But that's the idea behind DNA (DNA) testing to determine compatibility with potential partners.

For $99, GenePartner.com (GP), a Swiss company, will analyze your BC and determine how efficaciously it matches with similarly-analyzed individuals. Basically, it tries to find diversity in genes that code for a molecule contributing to disease immunity and stronger relationships. The more gene diversity between two people, the more like they are to enjoy a healthy relationship and reproductive success.

The idea is intriguing. My wife of 26 years wasn't much interested in taking the test. Aided solely by our own instincts, we've managed to be blessed with a happy marriage and two healthy grown children.

The science behind GenePartner is based on a highly-publicized sweaty t-shirt study conducted in 1995. Women sniffed the t-shirts worn by men for three straight days. Researchers found that the women were consistently attracted to the scent of men whose human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules were most different from their own.

There's seems to be a survival of the species element to this. I can also envision the women liking a scent most different from what they detected on the t-shirts.

GenePartner went further and looked for patterns in the genes that code for the HLAs. "The GenePartner formula measures the genetic compatibility between two individuals and makes a prediction of the strength of their basis for a long-lasting and fulfilling romantic relationship," GenePartner boldly claims on its web site. Check out its demo report.

GenePartner's explanation of BC doesn't clear it up for me and maybe it's not supposed to: "Biological attraction (BA) is the subconscious attraction (SA1) we feel for certain individuals without really understanding why."Then again, there's plenty I don't understand.

GenePartner warns that that BC should not be confused with optical attraction (OA) better known as physical attraction (PA). BC also measures to what degree partners will like each equally and calls it "symmetry of attraction" (SA2).  Stronger BC also means a a better sex life and successful pregnancies.

So if your DNA codes for your HLAs matches well with someone else's BC, BA, OA, SA1 and SA2, chances for a successful dating or friendship rise. Ok, so I over-acronym-ized for effect.

BC is not the sole determinant of a great relationship, but GenePartner seems indicate strongly it's a big factor and has allied with dating service and social media sites to get market traction. Social compatibility as defined by age, education, humor and goals among other factors are important, too.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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