Instead of asking, “What’s your sign?” you should be asking a potential mate, “What’s your genetic HLA blueprint?”
It wasn’t the dog in his profile picture or the kissy face emoji she sent you that attracted you to “the one” — it was science.
Humans have their own unique human leukocyte antigen (HLA) complex. HLA helps the immune system figure out which are its own cells and which are viruses and bacteria.
A study published in Nature studied attraction patterns in 254 couples and found that a partner with a different HLA pattern “correlates with sexuality and enhances the desire to procreate.”
The study concluded that couples with differing HLA complexes found the scent of their partner even more appealing, but whether it’s genetics or just being enamored with the person, isn’t clear.
“Men and women of various cultures seek out perfumes which highlight their body odour in the most desirable way,” the study authors wrote. “The famous novel ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind describes a perfume made of body odours that drives people into ecstasy and makes them forget civilized behaviour. … However, recent research indicates that the ‘olfactory match’ between people, rather than a universally irresistible smell, might be the key to olfactory attraction.”
“You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.”
This olfactory attraction has evolutionary benefits, too.
Researchers found that if two animals with different major histocompatibility complexes (MHC) — the equivalent of humans’ HLA — mated, their baby would have an extremely strong immune system.
Study authors concluded: “Attraction is a miracle to most of us and only some of the many factors mediating mate choice involve odours. However, within the world of human olfaction, there seems to be no perfect mate but a perfect partner and this depends on HLA match.”
And if the Bloodhound Gang’s 1999 hit is stuck in your head, you’re welcome.