Houston-based DNA dating app trades swiping for swabbing to find love

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're having trouble finding love, why not turn to science?

A new dating app called Pheramor uses DNA testing to help singles find their matches.

"Current dating apps are like using an encyclopedia for a research paper, and we're the Google," explained co-founder and chief scientific officer, Brittany Barreto, Ph.D.

Barreto and Asma Mirza founded the company about two years ago. They're both in their twenties and experts in genetics.

"Houston actually has the highest number of people who use dating apps and we are one of the most diverse cities," said Mirza.

And with Houston's world famous Medical Center, it's only fitting that local singles would be interested in using science to simplify dating.

"Eleven genes that encode proteins for your immune system are actually what can predict attraction," Barreto explained. "So, the more diverse your immune systems are, the more likely you are to be attracted to each other."

So, the old saying is true! Opposites do attract.

"So, what we're doing is literally quantifying love at first sight and compatibility through looking at those pheromones and the immune system and estimating that if you walk into a room, you would make eye contact with this person and be attracted to them," Barreto said.

After downloading the app, you'll want to take a DNA sample by swabbing the inside of your cheek. Your genetic information will be put in a server and measured up with other singles in your area.

You can also add information about yourself, like gender, partner preferences, and interests.

Both co-founders insist your DNA information will remain private. According to the app's website, "We do NOT look at your entire genome. This means we do NOT look at any genes associated with disease, race, hair color, height, etc - nothing, except attraction. Your identification will not be shared with the lab."

The genetic data for attraction will come back directly to Pheramor and stored safely. The remaining DNA sample at the lab will be destroyed and no further use will be allowed."

The app goes live on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Thousands of Houstonians have already signed up, including the two co-founders.

"I'm a hopeless romantic and have been single for too long," Barreto laughed.

Learn more about the app here.
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