On its website, the company explains that people are more likely to be attracted to one another the more different their DNA is.“The way species can ‘sense’ how different the DNA is in a potential mate is through smelling their pheromones,” states the site’s science section. “But the reality is that there’s no scientific evidence for something called a pheromone,” says Richard Doty, who studies smell and taste at the University of Pennsylvania.
But the science behind genetic attraction is shaky ground to build a relationship on, let alone a commercial enterprise.
It comes down to a few popular studies, which Pheramor also touts on its website.
The most famous are the “Sweaty T-Shirt Experiments.” Conducted by a Swiss evolutionary biologist named Claus Wedekind in the mid-90s, the studies involved a handful of college students with unshaved armpits wearing cotton t-shirts for a few days in a row, then handing them over to other college students to sniff and rate on intensity and pleasantness.
Bacteria is the single biggest determinant of body odor, he notes, and preferences for smells are to a large degree learned, subject to cultural differences.“The notion that there are these magical genes that are somehow associated with smells that permeate the environment and dictate our attraction to people is total nonsense.
If human pheromones actually elicited the kinds of behaviors we see in other mammals the subways of New York City would be in a constant state of mayhem with people hopping all over each other.”In a 2015 review of the scientific literature on pheromones published in the , University of Oxford zoologist Tristram Wyatt came to much the same conclusion.