Our DNA keeps telling us more and more about ourselves
In the 1983 movie Trading Places starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd, there’s a great scene in which the characters played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche get into a discussion about the age old question of what influences an individual more: heredity or environment. The two men decide to conduct an experiment using Murphy’s and Akroyd’s characters and the plot is set.
Even though this film was made only a quarter century ago, the contention of the debate seems a bit archaic in light of the exponential understanding we now have in regards to genetics. There was a time when suggestions that a person acted the way that they did because of their ancestry would be laughed at as “old wives’ tales”. Yet now we know better. Researchers keep isolating genes regulating all sorts of things from our health to our intelligence to our psychological state on an almost weekly basis. Our genes seem to be our lives as an open book.
Our genetic makeup is now even being marketed for our love lives. A company called GenePartner wants to match potential couples together according to how complementary their genetic makeup is with one another. This Swiss firm wants to:
evaluate singles and couples according to the potential union of their HLA genes, which help regulate immune response.
People may naturally be attracted to mates with HLA profiles different from their own, ostensibly guaranteeing the hybrid vigor of their offspring’s immune systems — and also providing a spark that will last through good times and bad.
“Proper age, similar life goals and ideas, education levels — all of these things have to fit. And on top of that, you need to be biologically compatible,” said Tamara Brown, managing director of GenePartner.