In honor of Valentine’s Day, Nazuki Andoh, 37, and Jesse Gronwall, 30, received a small kit in the mail. It contained two test tubes, which the couple spit in, packed up in a prepaid envelope, and shipped away. Weeks later, they received a 30-page report called “Your Love Manual,” which delivered an in-depth explanation of their biochemistry and psychological make-up, as well as the pleasing result that they were 73.5 percent romantically compatible.
The kit, created by a Toronto-based startup called Instant Chemistry, helps couples understand the science behind their attraction. Its founder, Ron Gonzalez, had always been fascinated by the applications of genetics in direct consumer testing. Armed with a Ph.D. in neuroscience, he realized he didn’t want to spend his life studying medical diseases. Instead, Gonzalez ventured into the dating industry, launching Instant Chemistry in 2013.
The science behind it is quite interesting—for example, studies have shown that differences in one’s immune system cause people to become more attracted to one another, and people can subconsciously detect these differences through scent. “Our body odor is largely determined by the bacteria that grow on our skin,” said Gonzalez. “The HLA immune system genes control what bacteria is allowed to grow on our skin, so when you smell someone, you are smelling how their immune systems works.” Even when people wear perfume or cologne to mask this scent, the HLA genes can be detected in taste. “When someone kisses you, they are indirectly sensing these immune system genes,” said Gonzalez.
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