There is no compelling proof as as to if or not DNA matching can help a extra fulfilling love life

The Netflix drama The One centres round a geneticist who invents a brand new matchmaking service. It makes use of DNA to assist individuals find their romantic and sexual match: their “one”.

“A single strand of hair is all it takes to be matched with the one person you are genetically guaranteed to fall in love with”, says Dr Rebecca Webb (Hannah Ware). “The moment you meet your match, your one true love, nothing will ever be the same again.”

The One asks what would occur if we may use a DNA database to match “soulmates”. More importantly, it assumes if such expertise existed it will be a completely industrial enterprise — imagining a not-to-distant future the place tech (and tech giants) mediate relationship, sex and relationships.

So, is this future simply round the nook?

The recognition of dwelling DNA testing

Home DNA testing is now an enormous enterprise. It is estimated that by 2022 will probably be price over US$10 billion globally.

DNA testing firms have fuelled a cultural fascination with biology, by which genetic tendencies are conflated with identification. DNA is regarded by some as the secret to understanding who we basically are as individuals.

DNA kits have been bought to discover genetic and cultural history, to tailor diets, and to have a look at genetic health risks.

Indeed, firms akin to Canada’s DNA Romance and Instant Chemistry already declare to assist individuals find love and sexual compatibility by way of DNA tests.

A woman on stage, looking at a vial
The One’s DNA check isn’t wholly a product of science fiction. Netflix

People ship in saliva swaps, and their DNA is examined to genotype human leukocyte antigens, often known as the major histocompatibility complex. These are essential regulators of the immune system, which additionally influence our physique odour. Genotyping identifies which variants of those genes every of us carry – which supposedly decide who we’re interested in.

Companies declare to match people on the foundation of this check for the greatest genetic love match.

There is no compelling evidence as as to if or not DNA matching can help a extra fulfilling love life. These present tests on main histocompatability complicated are based mostly on restricted experiments with combined outcomes.


Read extra: Does Singld Out, a gene-based dating service, pass the sniff test?


Indeed for many issues, dwelling DNA testing isn’t scientifically superior sufficient to offer us true insights. It additionally comes with ethical concerns akin to fears over data hacking, bodily autonomy in relation to who owns DNA knowledge, and the accuracy of the data provided.

Nature versus nurture

The One displays society’s present curiosity in understanding our DNA as important to our social and cultural practices. This has vital implications for range and acceptance. The TV collection depends on the idea that romantic and sexual future is predetermined by biological makeup.

A couple walks down a street on a date.
We — and our relationships — aren’t only a product of our genes. Netflix

Characters in The One really feel intense attraction to their match. While it pokes enjoyable at this idea — one character continues extramarital affairs regardless of being married to their match, one other has a number of matches — the romantic best of The One is nonetheless dedicated to the risk of “soulmates”.

This imagined risk helps to entrench the notion that monogamy is the most “natural” human relationship and human sexuality is pre-determined, fixed and rigid. But human sexuality is fluid, influenced by our tradition and society.


Read extra: Explainer: what is sexual fluidity?


Similar to the controversial seek for “The Gay Gene”, the world envisaged by The One takes politics out of human relationships and sex.

Social norms prohibit and form how we interact with sex and relationships: slut-shaming for women could imply girls are reluctant to hunt out pleasure and connections; sexual aggressions could imply replica of gender inequalities and intimate partner violence. Alternate relationship types, akin to polyamory, or the alternative to stay partner-free, are positioned as “unnatural” or much less legitimate.

We nonetheless stay in an age the place LGBTIQA+ rights are contested, and non-monogamous relationship types or asexuality stay stigmatised.

It is harmful to imagine DNA matching holds the key to romantic and sexual success — our genes alone can’t account for these various life experiences.

Anxieties of relationship will not be solved by way of DNA

The relationship app business alone is projected to grow to three.925 billion customers worldwide by 2025.

However apps have been blamed by some for facilitating superficial attitudes to sex and relationship, akin to fostering infidelity; the phenomena of ghosting and catfishing; and the paralysis of too much choice.

A man holds a sign: A Match Made In Hell
The One suggests you could possibly find your real love with DNA testing — however this doesn’t imply you’ll like them. James Pardon/Netflix

New applied sciences, like apps, can reshape romance. The One largely envisages DNA matching would reaffirm outdated ethical requirements and expectations for the best relationship: monogamous, lifelong, intense and excellent.

Humans are inclined to presume DNA and genetic testing can present us with irrefutable certainty. But counting on DNA ignores the function society and politics have in shaping our lives. Who we select to have a relationship with could also be influenced by our life objectives and experiences, private needs, morals and values, cultures and heritages.

The idea you’ll be able to meet a DNA-certified companion to keep away from heartbreak is seductive and comforting — however the fact is life and relationships are simply too messy.The Conversation

Andrea Waling, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow in Sex & Sexuality, La Trobe University and Jennifer Power, Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University

This article is republished from The Conversation below a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.





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