stuff to read week 9

Can our DNA tell us who our perfect partner is?

This is 2018 guys; people are injecting stem cells into their penises hoping to make them bigger, and having their cheeks swabbed hoping to find the one. What’s going on? 


With This DNA Dating App, You Swab, Then Swipe for Love

Christopher Plata doesn’t have time or patience for bad dates anymore. The 30 year-old nursing student has been trying for years to meet Mr. Right—first on Grindr and Compatible Partners (eHarmony’s queer subsidiary), and more recently on Bumble—and has yet to find someone with whom he shares a real connection. “I’ve really been through the wringer,” he says. So in December, while he was attending Houston’s Day For Night music festival, he stopped by a booth hawking cheek swabs, and handed over a few thousand cheek cells in the name of love.

The booth belonged to Pheramor, a Houston-based online dating startup that claims to use your DNA as the secret sauce in its matchmaking formulation. The company launched this week in its home metropolis, with plans to soon expand to other US cities. Its app, which is available for iOS and Android, is a sort of 23andMe meets Tinder meets monogamists.


Dude Injects His Junk With Stem Cells Hoping to Make it Bigger 

We all knew it was coming. With all this stuff about DIY bio-hacking, of course, some figgin’ dude was going to inject some crap into his penis in the hopes that it’d be bigger. OF COURSE. What could possibly be a more classic dude, more symbolic of the dystopia we find ourselves in? Nothing.


Implanting RFID Chips Under Your Skin is so 2017. Modifying Your Own DNA is Where It’s at Now

In 1974, the Altair 8800 microcomputer kicked off a revolution. The kit cost $439, or around $2,000 in today’s money. Assembled, it cost about 40 percent more. For between $150 and $350 on top, depending on the version, you could add a programming language, Altair BASIC, from a newly-formed company called Micro-Soft.

In 2018, you can buy a “Genetic Engineering Home Lab Kit” for around $2,000. For beginners, $159 will get you a “DIY Bacterial Gene Engineering CRISPR Kit”. It includes “everything you need to make precision genome edits in bacteria at home” for an example experiment, “allowing the bacteria to survive on Strep media which would normally prevent its growth”. And there’s more. What could possibly go wrong?


Check out last week’s Stuff to Read: 

Stuff to Read, Week 8