There’s another new dating app with a catchy hook debuting this month, this time involving your DNA. Pheramor, described by news website Wired as “23andMe meets Tinder meets monogamy” matches its users according to their genetic compatibility. The dating app launched this month in Houston, Texas.
For $19.99, Pheramor will mail you a kit so you can submit your saliva samples for testing. Then for an additional $10 per month, you can use the service and start receiving genetic-compatible matches.
The company was founded by two genetics experts, so the science figures prominently into the matching process. If chemistry is detected through pheromones, then why not assume romance and love will follow? Pheramor is trying to separate itself from the hook-up reputation of Tinder and appeal to more serious daters.
"Current dating apps are like using an encyclopedia for a research paper, and we're the Google," co-founder and chief scientific officer, Brittany Barreto, Ph.D. told WAOW News.
The app uses an algorithm that analyzes 11 special “attraction genes” that are linked to pheromones, which have long been assumed to trigger or predict attraction. The more diverse two peoples’ pheromones are, the more likely you are to match.
Pheramor claims that they don’t study “skin color, hair color, eye color, height, etc. from your genetics,” as they aren’t looking to genetically profile users.
However, sending a DNA sample for testing might make some customers question the privacy of the results and what happens with the information, as the genetic data will be stored with Pheramor after the initial sample is destroyed. Other genetic testing companies like Ancestry have come under scrutiny for their privacy practices.
In addition to DNA testing, Pheramor allows users to connect to their social media, so their matches can get a better look at the complete picture (outside of DNA).
According to Wired, the theory behind DNA matching comes from a 1998 pheromone study dubbed the “sweaty t-shirt experiment.” Researchers found that women were more attracted to the scent of men who had the greatest genetic difference from them. The science however, is a little dubious. According to experts, specific pheromones are known to trigger responses in animals like bees or squid, but scientists haven’t been able to isolate them in humans.
Still, Pheramor’s founders stand behind their new app and method of matching, and chose a city that would demonstrate its capabilities well.
"Houston actually has the highest number of people who use dating apps and we are one of the most diverse cities," said co-founder Asma Mirza, speaking to why they chose this place to launch.
So far, the company has sold thousands of their initial batch of test kits to Houston residents. To find out more about the Pheramor dating app yo ucan visit their website.