On its website, the company explains that people are more likely to be attracted to one another the more different their DNA is.
“The way species can ‘sense’ how different the DNA is in a potential mate is through smelling their pheromones,” states the site’s science section. “But the reality is that there’s no scientific evidence for something called a pheromone,” says Richard Doty, who studies smell and taste at the University of Pennsylvania.
But experts like Wyatt say the science behind matching you with someone who has different immune system genes remains theoretical.
He cites the International Hap Map project, which mapped genetic variations from thousands of people around the globe, including many husbands and wives.
“Pheromones have really caught the public imagination, particularly in association with sex or desire,” he says.
“But the bottom line is that for the present it’s still true to say that no human pheromone has ever been robustly demonstrated, and certainly not chemically identified.”So if they don’t exist, how did wind of human pheromones reach the public in the first place?Scientists at Memorial Sloan Kettering found that male mice tended to choose female partners with the most dissimilar MHC genes, which the researchers guessed were detected through scent.The leap to the T-shirt tests, then, was that since humans also chose partners with greater MHC gene variety, they must also be using smell, even if unconsciously.Bacteria is the single biggest determinant of body odor, he notes, and preferences for smells are to a large degree learned, subject to cultural differences.“The notion that there are these magical genes that are somehow associated with smells that permeate the environment and dictate our attraction to people is total nonsense.If human pheromones actually elicited the kinds of behaviors we see in other mammals the subways of New York City would be in a constant state of mayhem with people hopping all over each other.”In a 2015 review of the scientific literature on pheromones published in the , University of Oxford zoologist Tristram Wyatt came to much the same conclusion.And so in addition to the 11 “attraction genes” Pheramor uses to suss out biological compatibility, the company also encourages users to connect its app with all their social media profiles, to be data-mined for personality traits and mutual interests.It works like this: For .99 (plus a monthly membership fee), Pheramor will ship you a kit to swab your cheeks, which you then send back for sequencing.For some 40 million Americans like Plata, who have yet to find lasting love online, it’s a tantalizing prospect.But the science behind genetic attraction is shaky ground to build a relationship on, let alone a commercial enterprise.The company will combine that information with personality traits and interests gleaned from your profile to populate your app with a carousel of genetically and socially optimized potential mates in your area.To discourage mindless swiping, each match shows up as a blurred photo with a score of your compatibility, between 0 and 100.