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Biotech The Internet Science

New Dating Sites Match People Through DNA Tests 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the unzipping-your-genes dept.
The Installer writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press report: "A couple of genetic testing companies are promising to match couples based on DNA testing, touting the benefits of biological compatibility. The companies claim that a better biological match will mean better sex, less cheating, longer-lasting love and perhaps even healthier children. 'How many dating services can you think of where they can suggest you might have better children?' said Eric Holzle, founder of ScientificMatch.com, one of the first online dating sites to use DNA. ... The idea is that people tend to be attracted to those who have immune system genes that are dissimilar from their own. Biologists say the HLA genes of the immune system — which are responsible for recognizing and marking foreign cells such as viruses so other parts of the immune system can attack them — also determine body odor 'fingerprints.' And people tend to be attracted to the natural body odors of those who have different HLA genes from their own."
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New Dating Sites Match People Through DNA Tests

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shrtcircuit (936357) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @03:31PM (#30107862)
    Yeah... Submit your DNA profile to a for-profit corporation that lets you do things with it through a web interface. Your info will never be hacked. Your info will never be sold. Your info will never be given to government agencies. Trust us.

    What could possibly go wrong here?
  • Untrue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @03:38PM (#30107970)

    'The companies claim that a better biological match will mean better sex, less cheating, longer-lasting love and perhaps even healthier children.'

    They're lying.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @04:02PM (#30108244) Journal
    While the science is still in its infancy, there are already a fair few bits of genome that your insurance company would probably enjoy having a look at.
  • Re:I didn't RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @04:33PM (#30108566) Homepage
    So you figure dissimilar in the immune system, but similar on the sweet-ride preference?
  • Re:Offspring (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @04:44PM (#30108674) Journal

    Indeed, but even the Spartans tried to select for some sort of meaningful attribute, as opposed to "poor", "Catholic", "black" and so on.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @05:01PM (#30108848) Journal

    >>>DNA info? What's it good for?

    Watch the movie GATTACA where people were denied jobs (or vice-versa promoted) strictly based upon their DNA. The ability for bosses, politicians, whoever to just look at your "program code" and filter for the best candidate is dangerous. It takes away opportunity who may be slightly dumber, but with more determination and focus to get the job done. (Again I recommend watching gattaca... one of the best science movies of the last two decades.)

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @05:20PM (#30108996)

    Science movie? Science Fiction I'll grant you, even Sci-Fi (though never SyFy), but come on, let's not pretend there is real science in it.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikegami (793066) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @05:23PM (#30109026)

    But what about the idea that information MUST BE FREE?

    Information wants to be free. The claims refers to any and all of the following facts:

    • When information is shared, the sharer loses none of the information.

    • The cost of sharing information information is next to nil if not nil. It is an infinite good. In a free market, it's price WILL go down to zero (regardless of whether you think it SHOULD or not).

    • Information sharing almost always benefits society.

    But must information be free? No, not always. There is value in privacy, for example. So while your DNA information "wants to be free" doesn't mean you should "let it free".

    -----

    You might be wondering how there can exist privacy if information wants to be free.

    Notice that I said the cost of information will drop to nothing in a free market. Privacy can exist by hindering the market for information deemed private. One means of achieving this is through the creation of laws that (artifically) raise the cost of the information (by imposing penalities for inappropriately sharing and using the information).

    Unfortunately, the legal landscape has not yet dealt with DNA sharing in any serious manner. For now, all you can do is hide your DNA. Once it's known by someone else, it's outside your control.

  • Re:oh and (Score:4, Insightful)

    by umghhh (965931) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @05:24PM (#30109034)
    why would anyone want a lifetime membership if the company were successful?
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @05:42PM (#30109174)

    Spoken like someone who wouldn't be affected by this decision.

    There may not be be any genetically superior people, but there are plenty of people with severe deficiencies.

    Insurance companies win the bet most of the time. If they want to cut their losses by knowing the order of the entire deck I say they get f8ckd.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @06:14PM (#30109424)

    There really isn't anything unethical about offering a specific service at a given price. Part of not wanting to insure people at risk for cancer just means that you don't want to take their money, not that you are trying to rip them off (that insurance companies can operate profitably today without genetic information indicates that they can probably serve people that they know are genetically predisposed, and if they can't, why should we limit the subsidy pool to their customer pool?).

    Inserting all sorts of weird government mandates into what sorts of information insurance companies are allowed to use just ends up with a situation like we have today, where they barely operate as insurance companies and instead operate as socialized medicine providers for small (compared to society at large) groups of people. Basically, it's great to work at a big corporation, because there are lots of people there to help pay for your medical expenses, but if you don't, go die in the street (see, this is the part where I do think the wealthiest society to exist on earth should probably go ahead and try to mitigate the consequences of bad medical luck, I just think that regulating insurance companies is a bad way to do it).

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 15, 2009 @06:18PM (#30109466)

    You realize that the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy is that SciFi is based on facts, and 'entirely' plausible, right?

    We can test DNA and do the whole gene sequencing thing, just because right now we can't decode all of them doesn't mean we won't always.

    Nature vs Nurture--yes, this doesn't take that into account, which is one of the major things that movie seeks to encourage us to explore.

  • Re:Offspring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac. c o m> on Sunday November 15, 2009 @06:59PM (#30109792) Journal

    There's a lot of potential good that can happen from deliberate changes to how we select mates.

    The key word is "we". WE choose, not anyone else. If you're talking about individuals picking and choosing their spouses, that's their own business. Once you move from that to outside forces choosing for them, it's evil.

    -jcr

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Sunday November 15, 2009 @07:01PM (#30109810) Homepage

    Your info will never be given to government agencies.

    If the government wants to get into the match-making industry, more power to 'em!

    Seriously, do you really think that anybody cares about your DNA information that much as to hack into this site? There's really nothing that your DNA can be used for that criminals or the government would even want it for at this point. You can't even perform identity theft with it! Is there really a large black market for this information? If someone really wanted your DNA, I'm sure they could get a good sample by going through your trash or other means. If the government starts collecting DNA from everybody, do you really think they're gonna go through a dating service as opposed to actually getting it from your doctor or from mandatory screenings? If we come to that point, you've already got bigger problems than this site giving up your information. So really, what could possibly go wrong here other than you going on a couple of crappy dates because DNA might not be a viable matchmaking opportunity?

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 16, 2009 @12:07AM (#30111856)

    Watch the movie GATTACA where people were denied jobs (or vice-versa promoted) strictly based upon their DNA. The ability for bosses, politicians, whoever to just look at your "program code" and filter for the best candidate is dangerous. It takes away opportunity who may be slightly dumber, but with more determination and focus to get the job done. (Again I recommend watching gattaca... one of the best science movies of the last two decades.)

    Although, this assumes that there isn't a corresponding gene for hard work that could be located!

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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