Pardon us, but we just noticed that our trusty guide to online dating in 2018 doesn’t take into consideration the importance of a romance seeker’s genetic makeup. However, there’s a new dating app called Pheramor that’s got you covered, particularly if you believe DNA matching can improve your chances of finding a suitable significant other. The Houston-based service invites users to go on a molecular deep dive of sorts in the hopes that their most genetically compatible prospects will surface in the process.
Instead of leaving anything to chance, Pheramor prefers to lend a helping hand to human sexual selection with an unconventional approach that combines some old-fashioned social media snooping with cheek swabbing. Using the genetic submission, Pheramor locates 11 genes associated with pheromones, chemicals that are believed to turn on areas of the brain that dictate mood, hormones and sexual behavior. For $16 and a monthly membership fee, interested parties can give the service a try.
In order to skirt the saliva submission process and get down to the facts, we consulted with the experts to determine whether such a DNA matchmaking tactic can realistically increase the likelihood of a person finding success on the dating scene.
Maria Avgitidis, CEO of Agape Matchmaking, doesn’t believe so. “I think it’s an overall distraction. At the end of the day, you’re looking for someone who you can like for the next 50 years of your life,” Avgitidis tells Playboy. “You’re looking for a person who is a great communicator who will be able to solve problems with a level head. You’re looking for a good partner. Chemistry is so elusive and while it matters a great deal, it’s not the foundation of what makes a great relationship strong, healthy and fun.”
In short, it appears that apps that emphasize genetic matching as a date-finding strategy are presenting a grossly oversimplified view of biology for the sake of attracting customers.
As Ira S. Pastor, CEO of Bioquark Inc., explains to Playboy, genes “do nothing more than hold information that gets acted on and acted upon from higher biologic forces.” Utilizing DNA in this manner is akin to assembling two isolated pieces of a massive, complex jigsaw puzzle and expecting something to blossom from that connection.
“DNA is thus just one small player in a major game and by itself is fairly useless in providing qualitative actionable steps,” Pastor says. “Hence any data is interesting, but by itself pretty useless.”
“In recent years, one of the most important facts that the world of systems biology … has highlighted is that human beings thrive on ‘biologic randomness’—not standardization,” Pastor tells Playboy. “We see this in recent studies related to the benefits in the ways we take certain medications, how we mix up our exercise, how we vary our diet, etc. So, genetic similarity in looking for a mate does not make a lot of sense from an evolutionary dynamic perspective.”
Instead, Pastor explains that “evolution wants you to ‘mix things up’ a bit,” an endeavor he believes can be better accomplished and made more enjoyable by “trial and error dating,” as opposed to “complex DNA screening that tells you very little.”
Depending on how adventurous you are (or how spectacularly you’ve failed at dating when left to your own devices), you may find yourself drawn to Pheramor and its promises to hone in on your “attraction genes” and put them to immediate use. There’s no guarantee that you’ll successfully find the one based off a bunch of double helixes, but if you choose to mentally swipe right on this biologically-based route, we totally wouldn’t judge you.