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怎样找到你的另一半 How to find a mate
作者：laiyinhate_xie 提交日期：2008-3-22 2:04:00 | 分类:E文 | 访问量：1004
How to find a mate
The scent of a woman (and a man)
Jan 10th 2008
From The Economist print edition
A new kind of dating agency relies on matching people by their body odour
ONE of life's little mysteries is why particular people fancy each other—or, rather, why they do not when
on paper they ought to. One answer is that human consciousness, and thus human thought, is
dominated by vision. Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, regardless of the other senses.
However, as the multi-billion-dollar perfume industry attests, beauty is in the nose of the beholder, too.
ScientificMatch.com, a Boston-based internet-dating site launched in December, was created to turn this
insight into money. Its founder, an engineer (and self-confessed serial dater) called Eric Holzle is drawing
on an observation made over a decade ago by Claus Wedekind, a researcher at the University of Bern, in
ScientificMatch.com，一家在波士顿12月份成立的网络婚介站点，意图想靠这种观点来盈利。它的创始人，一个叫Eric Holzle的工程师（自称是约会高手）正靠的是10年前Claus Wedekind---一个瑞士伯尔尼大学的研究者---的观察来经营。
In his original study Dr Wedekind recruited female volunteers to sniff men's three-day-old T-shirts and
rate them for attractiveness. He then analysed the men's and women's DNA, looking in particular at the
genes that build a part of the immune system known as the major histocompatability complex (MHC). Dr
Wedekind knew, from studies on mice, that besides fending off infection, the MHC has a role in sexual
attractiveness. It changes odours in ways the mice can detect (with mice, the odours are in the urine),
and that detection is translated into preferences for particular mates. What is true for mice is often true
for men, so he had a punt on the idea that the MHC might affect the smell of human sweat, as well.
在他原始的研究中，Wedekind博士找了很多女性志愿者来嗅男士穿了三天的T恤，然后评定对她们的吸引力。接着，他分析了这些男性和女性的DNA，着重分析了一种构建人部分免疫系统的基因---major histocompatability complex(MHC).Wedekind从老鼠身上的研究发现，MHC除了抵抗免疫，在性别吸引方面也起着作用。改变老鼠能闻到的体味（对于老鼠，体味在尿液里），观察发现，能够吸引不同类型的异性。这种方式对老鼠成立的话，对人一样。所以Wedekind突然有了个想法，MHC可能也影响人汗液的气味。
It did. Women preferred T-shirts from men whose MHC was most different from their own. What was
more, women with similar MHCs favoured the use of similar commercial perfumes. This suggests that the
role of such perfumes may be to flag up the underlying body scent rather than mask it, as a more
traditional view of the aesthetics of body odour might suggest.
That makes evolutionary sense. The children of couples with a wide range of MHC genes, and thus of
immune responses, will be better protected from disease. As the previous article suggests, that could be
particularly important in a collaborative, group-living species such as humanity. Moreover, comparing
MHCs could be a proxy for comparing kinship, and thus help to prevent inbreeding.
The promise of an MHC-based match is not only that your partner's old laundry will smell better but all
sorts of other benefits too. The biological compatibility created by complementary immune systems
apparently promises better orgasms, a lower likelihood of cuckoldry, more happiness and so on. Nor are
heterosexuals the only ones who can benefit. Gay men and women respond as strongly to MHC-derived
smells as straight people do—though, as might be expected, their response is to the smell of people of
the same sex, rather than the opposite one.
Indeed, the only people for whom MHC matching might not be expected to work are women on the Pill.
Chemical contraception, which mimics pregnancy, messes up the system because of an intriguing twist.
When women are pregnant, they prefer the smell of MHCs that are similar to their own. This means they
are happier in the company of their relatives, which may, as the previous article also suggests, bring
evolutionary benefits of its own.
ScientificMatch.com does not rely entirely on the MHC. Besides sending off a swab taken from the inside
of their cheek and a cheque for $1,995, hopeful singles have to answer the usual questionnaire about
income, background and details such as whether they would prefer a skiing holiday to one spent
sketching. They are not, however, asked whether they wear their T-shirts for three days on the trot.