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Gene-Based Dating?

A new app promises to analyze customers' DNA to find them a suitable date, but Smithsonian magazine says it might not get people closer to finding love.

For about $16, a Houston-based start-up company called Pheramor will soon send customers DNA-collecting kits and the company will then sequences those samples, particularly focusing on genes linked to the immune system, Smithsonian says. The company will then pair customers with others whose immune system genes differ than theirs, though the matching process also relies on social media data to gauge a whether a pair also has common interests.

"So we're saying, you're not going to find your soulmate but you're probably going to go on a better first date." Brittany Barreto, the chief security officer and co-founder of Pheramor, tells Smithsonian.

Smithsonian notes that the idea of immune system genes influencing attraction dates back to 1976 paper that found that mice tended to choose mates who had major histocompatibility complex genes that differed from their own based on smell, and a 1995 study in people in which women found sweaty T-shirts from men with different MHC genes more attractive. But it says that the idea remains theoretical and that attempts to find human pheromones have not been successful.