Can a DNA Test Really Reveal Your One True Love?

As DNA testing professionals, we’ve heard of a lot of strange ways people use DNA tests, including analyzing dog doo to see which pups poop in public places.

Recently, a new weird use of a DNA test has emerged. Companies are promising that they can pinpoint your perfect match through genetic analysis.

Can cupid really be found in a test tube, or are these claims untrue? Test Smartly Labs of Lee’s Summit is exploring whether a DNA test can really be used for effective matchmaking.

Can a DNA Test be a Matchmaker, Too?

The Premise

The two companies promoting a DNA test as a matchmaker are SingldOut and Instant Chemistry. They promise that they can match mates by combining a personality test and a DNA test that analyzes three key genes in the human leukocyte antigens system, or HLA system. The HLA system is responsible for encoding cell-surface proteins which in turn effect compatibility for organ donation and determine your susceptibility for certain diseases.

Why do they use HLA analysis in the matchmaking DNA test? The companies are using HLA as a stand-in for scent because 40% of olfaction is determined in your genes. This is based on the premise that humans emit pheromones that attract certain lovers. A 1995 study did find that women who sniffed sweaty T-shirts of potential male mates preferred the clothing of men who were least genetically similar.

One gene used in the matchmaking DNA test is SLC6A4, which encodes a serotonin transporter. People can have a short or long version of one portion of SLC6A4, and some studies have shown that people with two short variants who experienced “high or low emotional behavior” reported feeling uncertain or dissatisfied when it came to the long-term stability of their marriage. People whose DNA test revealed at least one “long” variant of the gene did not show uncertainty or dissatisfaction.

The Problem

DNA experts like Dr. Ricki Lewis have questioned the validity of using a DNA test for matchmaking purposes. For one, it’s questionable whether humans actually have pheremones, so using HLA analysis might not make sense. Biologically, people with differing HLA variants may be unlikely to transfer infections between each other, while those with similar variants are more likely to be compatible as blood or organ donors. But there is no clear scientific link between HLA variants and sexual chemistry or an emotional connection.

Furthermore, humans have more than 20,000 genes, so even if the DNA test reveals more, can analyzing just a handful of genes really provide an accurate love forecast?

A DNA Test With Real Answers.

Our take? While we believe that a DNA test can provide compelling information about your ancestry — such as where distant relatives settled when they first immigrated to the United States — we think when it comes to love, you should stick with your gut, not with your saliva. A simple cheek swab can reveal a lot, but not when it’s used for psuedoscience.

Want actual answers from a DNA test? Come to Test Smartly Labs of Lee’s Summit and explore your genetic background with just one painless DNA test. Call (816) 875-9301 today to learn more about our DNA testing services.

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