Can a DNA Test Tell If Your Relationship Will Last?
For $149, Instant Chemistry claims it can reveal romantic compatibility based on genes.
Could our DNA influence who we fall in love with? According to Instant Chemistry, a company that sells DNA compatibility tests for couples, yes!
The kit, targeted to long-term couples who want to improve their relationships, includes two sets of saliva collection tools. Both partners have to collect a sample, then mail them to the company along with a pre-addressed envelope for receiving the results.
Once the samples reach Instant Chemistry’s facility, they get tested for six gene variants in the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) system, as well as for four other genetic variants.
What has HLA to do with our love life?
The HLA system regulates the immune system in the human body. To put it simply, it helps our immune system to distinguish between the cells of our own body and foreign cells that might be pathogenic viruses or bacteria.
HLA testing is usually performed when a patient needs a transplant, is dealing with cancer, or wants to become an organ donor. However, those genes also play a role in how we choose a romantic partner.
The HLA system affects every individual’s unique body scent, which influences who we’re attracted to.
“Research shows that we subconsciously detect how similar or different another person’s immune system is from our own through their body scent,” says Instant Chemistry’s official website.
For this reason, the more your immune system is different from that of your partner, the more likely, according to Instant Chemistry, is it that you will have a fulfilling relationship over the years.
These results are exactly what the Instant Chemistry test reveals.
The role of the serotonin transporter gene and our oxytocin and dopamine receptors
But the genes in the HLA system aren’t the only ones tested by Instant Chemistry.
The relationship compatibility test also involves the serotonin transporter gene, the oxytocin receptor, the dopamine receptor, and the enzyme catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT).
Serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine are the substances linked to the “high” feeling we have when falling in love. In particular, oxytocin is called “the love hormone” because of the role it plays in human bonding. It’s produced during breastfeeding, sex, or cuddles with a partner.
Some versions of the serotonin transporter gene have been linked to a decrease in relationship satisfaction over time. According to Instant Chemistry, individuals with two “shorter” versions of this gene are more likely to experience marital dissatisfaction over time.
For this reason, the test lets couples know in advance if they will likely experience bumps in the road to love. When the couple receives the results, both partners get educated on how to behave accordingly to their version of the gene.
The oxytocin receptor, instead, plays a role in empathy between two romantic partners.
People who have the “G” version of the gene are more empathetic towards other people and are less affected by stress in comparison with people who have the “A” version. Knowing which version of the gene your partner has, is supposed to help you understand their behavior better.
The dopamine receptor is a gene called DRD4, and it has been linked with human mating behavior. One of its versions, called DRD4 7R, is found more often in people who are better lovers, according to Instant Chemistry’s website.
Lastly, the company’s relationship compatibility kit also involves testing the enzyme COMT.COMT breaks down dopamine in our brains: the version “Val” does it quickly, while the version “Met” does it slowly.
Consequently, people with the “Val” versions are better at handling stress and negative events, while people with the “Met” version are more likely to experience anxiety. Again, knowing which version of the gene your partner has, might help you navigate relationship issues.
In addition to the DNA tests, Instant Chemistry’s kit includes a psychological compatibility test, created by the couple therapist Joel Block, and an e-book that introduces the couple to the scientific concepts behind the kit.
Plus, the results of the test come in a 30-page customized booklet, called “Love Manual, which includes specific advice on how to improve the couple’s love life based on both partner’s genes.
At the moment of writing, the Instant Chemistry relationship kit costs $149.
While the DNA test has mixed reviews on the Internet, Ron Gonzalez, Instant Chemistry’s founder, told Forbes: “There's a lot of potential to build this up in the future, until people see this as the norm.”
Image sources: Instant Chemistry