Love Transplants

BREAKING NEWS: Global chocolate distributor, Venus Inc., released a statement earlier today detailing their newest product line focused on manipulating the natural human microbiome to increase and sustain romantic relationships. This comes shortly after an influential study on the mouth microbiome revealed key insights into how lovers exchange trillions of bacteria in seconds via french kissing.

Venus Inc. researchers wondered if microbes potentially played a role in the happiness of couples. They performed a series of studies where they took microbes from happy mice couples and transplanted them onto mice in rocky relationships.

This is a graphical depiction of the “love transplant” study by Venus Inc. and was provided to us by the company for use in this article

Amazingly they saw that the mice in the rocky relationships seemed to rekindle their romantic feelings after receiving their “love” transplant. The researchers also did the reverse experiment, transplanting microbes from mice in rocky relationship onto mice in happy relationships and not surprisingly, they saw these mice begin to argue constantly. Venus Inc. researchers concluded that microbes associated with healthy loving relationships release wonderful chemicals that cause a state of bliss in the mice; they are currently working on follow-up studies investigating what role the immune system might play in attraction. Their research will be published later this year in the prestigious closed access journal, Nurture.

Due to the closed access nature of Nurture, we had to reconstruct the plots depicted in the paper by hand. The gist is that the microbial communities of mice in love differs significantly from that of the microbial communities of mice in hate

Coincidentally the Venus Inc. research seems to be corroborated by very reliable evidence based on speculation and opinion given in this radio segment today by Jason Tetro, self-proclaimed Author, Researcher, Germevangelist and Germs Relationship Therapist.

Using love-associated microbes identified in the aforementioned study, Venus Inc. is releasing two new chocolate products, LoveBites and Love Potion #9. LoveBites are bite sized chocolate pieces which double as a prebiotic and contain several proprietary compounds identified to enrich for the love-associated microbes identified in the upcoming Nurture paper. Love Potion #9 is a chocolate shake and a probiotic, containing 9 trillion different love-associated microbes to serve as your very own “love” transplant.

I was lucky enough to receive a sample of LoveBites and can attest to the fact that it really is love at first bite. I can only hope that the packaging  is not the final design

To complement their chocolate line, Venus Inc. is also launching an online dating website, OKmicrobe, where the oral and fecal microbiomes are used to assess dater similarity and relationship potential. As we learn more and more about the the human microbiome, it becomes clear that human behavior is really 10% human  and 90% microbe.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

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