New Dating Site Uses DNA to Make Matches

A new dating site, SingldOut, is using DNA samples from subscribers to create “genetic matches”:

The two markers tested for are the serotonin uptake controller, which is involved in how people handle positive and negative emotions. The second marker tested for relates to the genes influencing the person’s immune system.

Within one week, the test results appear on the user’s profile, where they can be compared with the results of other users.

According to research by Instant Chemistry, the maker of the testing kits used by SingldOut, there is a strong correlation between people in long-term relationships having different versions of the serotonin genes and different immune systems.

Potential mates are apparently more attractive to one another when the genes controlling their immune functions (the Human Leukocyte Antigens) are most dissimilar. In that sense, science seems to confirm that, biologically and genetically speaking, “opposites attract.” But is this genetic match really all that meaningful? Aren’t relationships more than just a pairing of biological matter?

And that is where this DNA matching starts to become troubling. Most dating sites match people on the basis of personal preferences, personalities, and religious views. Even those markers are largely superficial, and these matches don’t really get to the heart of what relationships are useful for. The most important thing about a relationship is that it is complimentary, not just compatible. Matching up your DNA and your MO won’t ensure a productive relationship.

Because relationships aren’t about individual fulfillment. I didn’t say relationships shouldn’t be individually fulfilling. But if that’s the priority, the main function of relationships becomes lost. And the main function is work.

That sounds very unromantic, I know. So let me explain what I mean. Relationships should be complimentary so that the over-arching vision of the two people in a relationship can be better accomplished. It’s the common vision—an agreement in the productive goals—of the couple that are most important, because in order to accomplish that common goal, the workload must be delegated and divided. The vision is common. The division of labor cannot be.

For instance, Madame Curie, the famous scientist, needed a husband who had none of her uncanny insight, but a knack for facilitating her experiments. It is very likely the relationship would not have been as scientifically productive if Curie’s husband had himself been a dreamer rather than a doer. Two dreamers seems like a compatible match. But it isn’t a productive match because it isn’t complimentary.

We are suffering as a country because our idea of relationships has become selfish. It’s all about being with someone that is a good “match” for you—whether in genetics, personality, or whatever. At least with this genetic matching, some complimentarianism has been injected into the dating site mix—but only on a biological level. And that won’t salvage a bad relationship. In our immaturity and selfishness, we all want to marry someone just like us—homosexuality is perhaps one of the symptoms of this self-centeredness. It turns out this self-obsession is not just a bad idea biologically, it’s also a bad idea socially. And we’re paying the price.