The perfume industry has spent untolds amount of money manufacturing scents to interest members of the opposite (or same) sex. Much research has gone in to how scent can influence this. This article will deal exclusively with the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC).
The MHC are a set of genes that encode our immune system, and are directly related to the types of microbes in the environment that we are able to defend ourselves against. In other words, a healthy and diverse MHC reflects a healthy and diverse organism.
Our bodies have evolved to consider the smell of bacteria awful, because it poses an obvious health risk. The amount of bacteria on our skin produces an odour as it begins to grow and multiply. The balance between bacteria living and reproducing and our immune system fighting it off produces a smell that is easily detectable by other individuals of our species.
The interesting thing is that we don’t actually use this to determine attractiveness. Everyone’s combination of MHC genes are completely unique. What we are actually smelling for is genetic diversity. In other words, individuals who smell a family member’s MHC combination consider it repulsive and vice versa. This is attributed to earlier days, when settlements of a few hundred people were common. It would be possible to be somewhat closely related to someone, without actually calling them a brother or sister.
Understanding and mapping the ability of MHC-detection and how it relates to attraction could prove to be lucratively profitable for a number of industries around the globe.
Especially now, with the succesful mapping of the human genome. We could mathematically compute the number of possibilities of MHC genes. Then, use a computer to produce a unique combination that is genetically different than anyone in the known universe- to a degree of probability. This super-MHC could be used to develop a super scent that scientifically attracts members of the opposite sex.
Imagine purchasing this smell and pumping it in to your nightclub, much like supermarkets and bakerys promote the smells of fresh baked goods to help increase sales.