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Find soulmate thanks DNA matchmaker

Genetic testing is a new trend to find partners. Photo: SCMP

Ayumi Miyazaki has tried various dating methods over the years. From attending a bachelor party to making friends on the Tinder app, nothing works for the 37-year-old female architect who lives in Kawasaki, Japan.

Finally, in 2017, she decided to give her love path to science and let a lab choose the ideal partner for her. She participated in the DNA matchmaking service called Gene Partner Japan in Tokyo. The foundation claims to be able to find matching couples based on genetic similarity.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), they took Ayumi's saliva sample for DNA testing. As a result, she is now engaged in happiness with Shun Orihara – a 34-year-old manager – living in Yokohama. The cost of this translation is only 36,000 yen (equivalent to 7.6 million).

Ayumi and Shun are just two of a large number of lonely hearts in Japan seeking DNA matchmaking. “Gene Partner introduced me to the two men, and based on their DNA results, there was only one person similar to me. The man is my fiance now, ”said Ayumi Miyazaki.

In recent years, genetic testing kits for identifying the condition and ancestral origins have become increasingly popular thanks to increased health awareness. And throughout Asia, gene-dating dating services are beginning to flourish in countries like Japan and Singapore.

While there is no exact figure to describe the size of the DNA matchmaking market, the gene-testing industry in Asia and the Pacific is estimated to be worth $ 1.32 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach 2. , $ 48 billion by 2024, according to Market Research Future.
Among the genetic testing companies emerging from this trend are Prenetics in Hong Kong (China). Prenetics has attracted US $ 53.7 million in investments between 2014 and 2017 from giants like Alibaba Group and Ping An Insurance.

How do matchmaking with DNA work?

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A meeting arranged based on Gene Future's test results. Photo: Gene Future

Many DNA matchmaking companies use the same method to determine compatibility. Gene Partner Japan – a regional branch of Gene Partner in Switzerland – analyzes the differences in human leukocyte antigens, also known as HLA genes, by customers. According to Ms. Chieko Date, Director of Gene Partner Japan, the greater the genetic distance between two individuals' HLA molecules, the more attractive they will be to their opponent.

“There are more than 1,000 types of HLA genes. The goal here is to build sustainable marriages, ”Date said. In addition, other genetic factors such as appearance, preferences, habits and compatibility in reproduction are also considered. Since opening the company in 2015, Ms. Date says she has successfully married 18 couples.

At a fee of 19,800 yen per test, Gene Future, based in Tokyo and Kyoto, also provides HLA-based services. Kiyotaka Sugihara, the company's director, said they have tested DNA for more than 900 people, but added that non-DNA factors are also an important part of their matchmaking service.

Kiyotaka explained: “DNA testing is based on biological structure, but the complete compatibility also depends on factors such as social compatibility, he said. However, I think DNA matchmaking is very helpful in helping people decide who to marry. ”

At Genemate matchmaking company in Singapore, candidates must pay 280 USD (about 6.5 million) and take saliva samples for testing. According to founder Roger Poon, their lab analyzes each person's HLA gene and then divides them into eight distinct groups. After that, the company matchmaking customers between groups.

Is it feasible?

Many companies claim to be able to pair people based on scientific principles, but experts say there's currently no conclusion.

Brian Chung, associate professor of pediatrics and adolescents at the University of Hong Kong, said it was still too early to certify that the technologies could determine in advance who his soulmate was. “I don't think we know all the genes involved, and even in the future, we may not be able to grasp all of them. Human personality is influenced by genetic, environmental and interaction between these things, ”he said.

But similar to astrology, personality tests and other similarity measures can sometimes be sufficient to imply the outcome of a couple. For example, Ms. Chieko said DNA testing could also be used to justify the breakup.

“A married customer with a 5-year-old daughter suddenly felt the instability of his relationship with his wife. He went to the Gene Partner and discovered that they were not genetically similar and decided to divorce. ”
DNA matchmakers are being backed by governments as a means to improve declining birth rates in many countries like Japan and Singapore – both below the 2.1-child-needed level to maintain. population maintenance.

Genemate said the Singapore Family Planning Department had their eyes on their company and asked them to work with other matchmaking companies to organize a large-scale event in the last two months of the year.

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