The genetic testing company 23andMe is polling its users about #TheDress in the hopes of figuring out how our genes influence color perception.
The dress in question, of course, is none other than the now-infamous garment that blew up the internet last month. Some people saw blue and black, others saw white and gold, and still others saw both at different times. (For the record, it's white and gold.) Neuroscientists weighed in, explaining that the difference may be rooted in how the brain interprets the light coming into your eyes.
23andMe is now trying to figure out what role genetics may play by polling the more than 850,000 people who have submitted their saliva to the company for genetic analysis. Customers are periodically asked to answer questions about their lifestyle, health, family history, and other factors in order to help researchers understand how DNA influences behavior and health. In this case, 23andMe appears to be focusing on whether the way people see the dress is related to red-and-green color blindness, the most common kind of color blindness and a condition that affects many more men than women.
Answering the initial poll question (above) prompts more questions.
So far, most respondents don't report having red-and-green color blindness.
It's too early to say what colors 23andMe users see in The Dress.
To protect users' privacy, the company won't show how gold and white fares against black and blue "until a certain number of users have answered this question."
Meanwhile, 23andMe users are having a spirited debate on a community forum.
But we know what the true answer is. (White and gold.)
Stephanie Lee is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Stephanie M. Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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