This is what happens when a geneticist and a neuroscientist fall in love: they create a DNA kit that purports to help lonely singles find their perfect genetic match. There’s just one catch—you have to spit into a cup.
Canadian neuroscientist Ron Gonzalez and his geneticist wife Sara Seabrooke—the brainiacs behind Instant Chemistry—knew there was a mountain of research that revealed that long-term romantic compatibility was associated with certain genetic traits. “Researchers found that the more dissimilar you are in your immune system, the more that couples reported better sex lives, healthier children, longer lasting relationships, and more intimacy,” explains Gonzalez. Studies also suggest that romantic longevity may hang on whether or not you’ve paired off with someone who has a different version of a gene called the serotonin transporter, he says.
Generally speaking, people either have a long or a short version of the gene. Short ones make you more emotionally reactive; long ones make you less so. Research indicates that when short meets long, good things happen. Two shorts may just spark before flaming out, while two longs? Well, Zzzzzzz.
To bring that information out of the lab and into the messy world of dating, the duo created a DNA testing kit for singles in 2013, which tests for both genetic markers.
The kit consists of a spit test, which is then sent to a lab for genetic analysis, and a psychological profile that’s filled out online. The idea is that once you know what you are genetically, you can apply that knowledge to finding a suitable companion.
Unfortunately, singletons can’t just buy the kit on their own. To access it, you have to go through an affiliated dating service. (There are currently only two—one in New York and the California-based dating site SingldOut, which is reportedly about to expand further into North America.)
“Basically, what happens is that when you sign up for this website you get a kit mailed to you immediately,” explains Instant Chemistry co-founder Jeremy Bluvol. The results are then applied to your online dating search, so that you’re presented with genetic and psychological matches.
Instant Chemistry does offer a kit for couples for sale on its site ($200), however. Gonzalez says this grew out of demand from those already in relationships, who wanted to know whether they were genetically compatible. If you’re already loved-up but gene-curious anyway, don’t worry. The kit won’t reveal you’re tethered to someone completely wrong for you—not really, anyway. “It’s not meant to be a scary test. It’s really meant to be more a ‘explore your relationship’ type of test,” says Gonzalez.
The results may identify areas of incompatibility with your beloved but it also comes with tips on how to work with those challenges.“That’s really the goal with [the couples’ kit], to help people who are already in a relationship understand their partners a little bit better: I understand why you react this way. It’s built in your genes. That’s the way you are.”