oddly enough, Science

Falling in love, 21st century style (mostly for mice).

According to Spiegel Online (link in German), GenePartner, a Swiss company, is actually offering to match people based on their DNA structure since last July. They, like their American competitor ScientificMatch, base their product on recent research that was able to exploratorically establish an empirical preference for sexual partners with a genetically different immune system, yet with only a weak theoretical explanation for the empiric findings. While researchers in the field are apparently still modest about the importance of their findings for human mating, the two companies seem confident in their ability to identify and numerically encode the previously unconscious preferences which then allows to identify prospective mates with a different immune system and thus, it is assumed, a significant potential for a relationship.

Interestingly though, it’s a method that is clearly not entirely compatible with a probably rather common requirement of 21st century mating: Women using the pill apparently won’t be able to use the method due to the medicament’s hormonal effects that allegedly causes these women to choose mates with a genetically similar rather than genetically different immune system.

Moreover, as ScientificMatch explains on their website, people not raised by their biological parents in the first months of their lives probably won’t be able to use the method either, as they seem to base their mating decisions not on the genetic structure of their own immune system but on that of their parents. That is, of course, if humans behaved like mice, the specied with which the studies cited were conducted.

Well, humans (and not just men) and mice have clearly a lot in common… genetically speaking. And this line of research is certainly rather interesting, opening up a perspective on human behaviour and mating that was too easily overlooked in the sociologically biased 20th century.

But for all that it’s worth, I think we all know that there is a bit more to love than two genetically different immune systems…