No luck with Match.com or EHarmony? Online daters now have a new way to screen potential dates. Two companies offer genetic analysis that purports to find your perfect love match based in part on the smell of his or her sweat.
The genetic tests for both companies–ScientificMatch, based in Naples, FL, and GenePartner, based in Zurich, Switzerland–are based on the same study, performed more than a decade ago in Switzerland. Women were asked to rate the odor of men’s sweaty T-shirts, and then both sexes were tested for the genotype of several genes within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a family of genes that is crucial for immune function. Women were more likely to prefer the sweaty smells of men whose MHC genes were most different from their own.
While it sounds bizarre, the finding does have a potential evolutionary explanation. According to an article from the Economist,
The children of couples with a wide range of MHC genes, and thus of immune responses, will be better protected from disease… . That could be particularly important in a collaborative, group-living species such as humanity. Moreover, comparing MHCs could be a proxy for comparing kinship, and thus help to prevent inbreeding.
Does it really work for finding a date? Probably not. Subconscious feelings about a person’s smell likely make only a minor contribution to each person’s attractiveness equation.
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
Our brains exist in a state of “controlled hallucination”
Three new books lay bare the weirdness of how our brains process the world around us.
We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.
Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.