Genes Might Cause Some to Shun Pork05/02/12
WEDNESDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- Not a big fan of bacon or
ham? Your genes might be behind it, a new study finds.
Researchers found that 70 percent of participants had two
functional copies of a gene linked to a particular odor receptor in
the brain. This cellular receptor is attuned to a compound in male
mammals called androstenone, which is also common in pork.
In the study, 23 people were asked to smell pork. Those with
either one or no functional copies of the RT gene could tolerate
the scent of androstenone much better than those with two copies of
the gene -- suggesting a mechanism by which some people find pork
more or less appetizing.
The findings appear online May 2 in the
Study author Hiroaki Matsunami, an associate professor of
molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University Medical
Center, said he wants to do similar research in specific
populations, such as people in the Middle East, where eating pork
"I would also like to know about odor receptor variants in indigenous populations, such as people who live near the Arctic Circle and who never eat these meats. What is their genotype?" Matsunami said in a Duke news release.
He suggested that vegetarians may have a genetic predisposition
against the smell of meat and wondered if meat inspectors with both
copies of the RT gene would make different decisions in their
The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery
has more about
smell and taste.
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