I still assign it. Two copies of the RX variant indicate inborn skill at endurance events, and no copies suggest a child stick to sprints. The lucky heterozygotes might excel at both! Never mind that a child has some 20, or so other genes affecting physiology.
Three are members of the human leukocyte antigen HLA complex, which encodes the cell-surface proteins that determine who can give body parts to whom and reflects many disease susceptibilities. The fourth gene, SLC6A4 , encodes a serotonin transporter.
The image shows tiny wasps with the wonderful name Nasonia vitripennis mating, thanks to pheromones wafting from the male. Wikipedia credits it with starting the field of genetic matchmaking. But do we need a DNA test to tell us when a potential date stinks? People with different HLA variants may be less likely to pass infections back and forth.
But couples with similar variants would be better off if one of them needs a blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant, or part of a liver. Like the HLA genes, its variants are associated with several health conditions: Yoichi Araki The SLC6A4 protein recycles the neurotransmitter serotonin to the reuptake stations on presynaptic neurons in the brain. People can have a short version or a long version of one part of the SLC6A4 gene.
In one study , people with two short variants self-reported future dissatisfaction with their marriages if they previously reported high or low emotional behavior whatever that means. What the serotonin transporter has to do with dating is beyond me, although I have not dated in centuries. But I think a shared love of dark chocolate, running, and binge-watching Orange is the New Black may be more meaningful measures of day-to-day compatibility than SLC6A4 genotype. They are falling into the trap of genetic determinism, the idea that DNA is destiny.
I emailed the company requesting data showing that people with particular genetic profiles are more likely to be compatible, and how the company defines and assesses compatibility. Testing is anonymous, using numerical identifiers, and carriers are not told what they carry — just whom to avoid having children with, if they so choose. Their testimonials are the plummeting incidences of some of these diseases in the tested population.
But making medical claims is a different story. My favorite study exposing misuse of genetic testing is from the U. None of the companies, which offered dietary suggestions and pricey packages of exactly the supplements that an individual purportedly needed to avoid her or his genetic fate, bothered to do a health history.
And the results reported on very common conditions to which genes may contribute minimally and stated the obvious, like not smoking. My advice for deciding whom to date? Some of this material comes from chapter 20, Genetic Testing and Treatment, in my textbook Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, just published by McGraw-Hill in the 11th edition.