Designer Genes

An interesting result of a genetic study carried out by Prof. Fowler and colleagues, which is published in PNAS (1), indicates that our genes influence our relationships. Assortative mating so that we tend towards the same set of genes doesn’t sound to surprising but taking it to the extent that we like to share genotypes with our friends seems surprising, at least to me. DRD2 is the beasty that sorts us out apparently. When I read that this is the one that is also associated with a tendency towards alcoholism, I began to see that the popularity of bars takes on a deeper meaning and singles bars must have an even deeper significance. The CYP2A6 genotype was shown to exhibit heterophilly, that is these are people that we wouldn’t like to hang out and drink with.

We need an iPhone App that stores our genotype information and can compare this with others in the same space. Bluetooth technology has a 30-foot radius and would be ideal. Think of the time and money that this would save, we would just have to give the bar a quick scan and our App would give us the probability of having an interesting evening. It would rate the bar on the percentage of the denizens that were boozy soul mates compared to the percentage that were going to tell us boring stories about work or their brother in law’s sister’s dog. Until the App is here, I guess I’ll have to rely on my old standbys of pheromones and non-verbal communication.

A real challenge comes with our Facebook friends. Should we publish some genotype information along with our favorite films and music? Would prospective employers want to compare your genotypes with others that would be in the same team as a compatibility check? Setting up ‘tiger teams’ in the workplace is well established, but are we going to see ‘metagenomic teams’, or better still ‘metagenomic tiger teams’, as the newest fad from the business consulting world?

Whilst sitting here, comfortably in my metagenomic world, I begin to worry about how epigenetics can play into this. If environmental factors can cause genes to become inactive/unavailable due to say modification of a histone tail or the addition of a methoxy group, and this reduction in activity can be passed on for a generation or two, is it possible that I could suddenly end up in a feud with my metagenomic group which could last through to my grandkids time?


One Response so far.

  1. jazgal says:

    most likely the shape of things to come, and probably sooner than later. Probably the sooner you get your app in hand, the more likely you are to line up your life- - indeed down to the grand-kids! Imagine "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" if she'd only had this app!

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