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Potential Matches Put Under A Microscope at New Dating Site

San Diego is home to countless institutes, laboratories and research collaborations aiming to find better uses for advancements in genetic sequencing. Yet, there is one market that seems an unlikely match for DNA analysis — online dating.

A new dating website founded in San Diego claims to be the first to analyze members’ DNA and match people based in part by genetic compatibility.

“Sometimes you go out on a date with someone who looks great on paper, but when you get face to face there’s nothing there — no chemistry,” said

Jana Bayard, the co-founder and CEO of SingldOut Inc. “We wanted to make sure no one is wasting time going out on awkward dates.”

The dating portal, SingldOut, put in place multiple sets of filters to help its members narrow down the pool of potential dates. Bayard says the filters help members find a partner with whom they have chemistry and potential for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.

Members sign up using LinkedIn and get started by building a profile. The member will then receive a DNA testing kit in the mail; he or she spits in the enclosed tube and mails it off to laboratories in Canada for analysis.

The science behind SingldOut’s approach to matchmaking is outlined in 20 years’ worth of research regarding attraction between humans. Bayard says that 40 percent of the attraction between two people is based in the DNA and immune system.

The test analyzes people’s serotonin uptake transporter, which helps determine how people react to positive and negative feelings. Bayard says there are two types of genes they are looking at — a short and long gene.

“People with the short gene are not good with stressful situations and people with the long gene are calm and handle stress well,” Bayard said. “The research we used looks at couples who were married for more than 25 years and analyzes which combination of genes work well together.”

The second part of the test looks at people’s immune systems. SingldOut is focused on three genes of the immune system that carry information about pheromones. Analysis of this information allows the matchmaking company to create genetic profiles outlining compatibility, attraction and chemistry. Using an algorithm developed by SingldOut’s Canadian partner and laboratory, Instant Chemistry, the dating site will provide members with options of partners who are genetically compatible.

Using ‘Traditional’ Filters

The matchmaking site adds the genetic element to more traditional filters including a psychological personality test. The company also wanted to appeal to busy professionals by using LinkedIn to sign up for the website.

“We know that the single professional market is really underserved,” Bayard said. “There are ample solutions for online dating but none that focus on professionals working 60-80 hours a week. They need to be using time efficiently, not wasting it dating someone who is not compatible. That’s where biology and genetics can come in.”

The director of education at the American Society of Human Genetics, Michael Dougherty, isn’t so sure about the validity of the matchmaking site’s science.

“The company extrapolates pretty basic research about a small number of genes involved in immunity and brain function to behaviors associated with mate selection,” Dougherty said. “The major problem with trying to apply this kind of research to a dating service is that correlation is not the same as causation. Human social interactions are defined by behaviors that result from a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors. Efforts to boil complex behaviors down to small numbers of genetic variations rely on deterministic thinking about genes, which we know genetic science does not support.”

Co-founder of Instant Chemistry, Ron Gonzalez, says this is only the beginning of science helping the matchmaking process.

“Currently, we test for HLA, serotonin uptake transporter and the psychological aspects of relationship compatibility,” Gonzalez said. “These are all based on peer-reviewed research and they are meant to enhance the information that people have when they go on a date. Instant Chemistry is one of the first researchers to do this work which will ultimately help push the science even further.”

Since the company’s launch earlier this year, SingldOut has acquired 300 subscribers. Bayard says that number is growing fast as the company is receiving national media coverage in the past couple of weeks. Due to the company’s youth and small subscriber base, Bayard said they do not yet have results showing the success of DNA filters. However, the website touts testimonials from couples who have used DNA compatibility testing through other sources and vouch for the validity of DNA matching strategy.

Bayard co-founded SingldOut in January 2014. Prior to the new matchmaking startup, she was the director of strategic products at Active Network.

Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Elle France is the seasoned matchmaker, previously owning her own matchmaking company in Rancho Santa Fe.

SingldOut recruited John Scatizzi to be the science guru and vice president of business development. Scatizzi has spent the last few years identifying the best early-stage technology investments for the Tech Coast Angels.

SINGLDOUT INC.

CEO: Jana Bayard

Revenue: 2014 projected revenue — $1 million

No. of local employees: 5

Investors: Funded by founders

Headquarters: San Diego (home offices)

Year founded: 2014

What makes the company innovative: First online dating site to use genetic testing to find compatible matches

Key factors for success: Unusual approach to matchmaking, receiving national media coverage due to novelty which may boost member subscriptions

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