“A little science and a lot of fun”

I have heard of phone apps and online quizzes that help you find foods and drinks that would appeal to you based on your answers to some questions, but today I read about something a lot more intriguing (and possibly a little ridiculous) – Vinome. Vinome (Vino + Genome) is a wine delivery service that scientifically selects wine for you based on your DNA.

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Photo (cc) Wojtek Szkutnik

The scientists behind the invention have conducted research studies to create a genetic test that will focus on the genetic factors that define personal taste. Their plan is to collect saliva samples from their customers and then analyze 10 genetic variants within each DNA sample. By doing so, they will be able to create personal Vinomes, or unique taste profiles.

According to the article written in STAT News, there isn’t much science to back up the company’s work so far. However, what they do have going for them is the deal they just made with a startup called Helix. Helix itself isn’t a big name, but it is backed up by the world’s biggest DNA sequencing company, Illumina.

Understandably, some geneticists find this whole thing silly.

“It’s just completely silly. Their motto of ‘A little science and a lot of fun’ would be more accurately put as ‘No science and a lot of fun,’” medical geneticist Dr. Jim Evans told STAT News. “I’d put this in the same category as DNA matching to find your soulmate,” he said. “We just simply don’t know enough about the genetics of taste to do this on any accurate basis.”

Vinome’s official launch is this upcoming holiday season and CEO Ronnie Andrews has taken people’s doubts into account but he is confident about their idea.

I will probably never understand the science behind the product, if there is any, but with the right prices and the right advertisement, I can see how Vinome would appeal to wine lovers. The simple fact that the company is located in Northern California – aka wine world – is already a good first step.

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About ishasinghal

My name is Isha Singhal and I am from Andover, Massachusetts. I am a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and I am majoring in Journalism and minoring in Art. This blog contains my assignments for my Journalism class, but it might also occasionally display pieces that I write on my own time. Those extra features will most likely expose you to my inner foodie and world traveler.
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