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A Geneticist is Making a DNA Dating App?


Dec. 11 2019, Published 6:10 p.m. ET

George Church, a famous Harvard geneticist, has raised some eyebrows with idea of a genetic dating app. He believes that such an application would rid the human race of all genetic disease. 

The app would match users to potential mates based upon the likelihood of not passing down genetic disease to their future offspring. They would look into users’ genetic makeup determine their dominant and recessive genes, pairing them with ideal candidates.

For a quick science lesson, dominant genes have a higher chance of showing up in an offspring as opposed to recessive genes. For example, brown eyes are a dominant gene and blue eyes are recessive. If a blue-eyed person and a brown-eyed person had a child it will likely have brown eyes. If two blue-eyed people had a child, there’s a higher chance their child will also have blue eyes. 

This is where eradicating genetic disease comes in. Cystic fibrosis, for example, is a recessive gene. If one parent carries the recessive gene but the other doesn’t, the child will likely not inherit and suffer from cystic fibrosis. However, if both parents carry the recessive gene, there is then a 25 percent chance the child will inherit the disease. 

Church’s app will seek to make matches that have the lowest probability of passing on genetic diseases to their offspring. “You wouldn’t find out who you’re not compatible with,” he explained on CBS’s 60 Minutes. “You’ll just find out who you are compatible with.” 

The program’s correspondent Scott Pelley asked the geneticist, “You’re suggesting that if everyone has their genome sequenced and the correct matches are made, that all of these diseases could be eliminated?” Church replied, “Right.”


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