Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Something New About the Senses

Image result for tasteThere is already a fair amount of knowledge about how genetics affects the way people like certain food compared to others. But what about your own taste perceptions? Bob Holmes wrote about his experience at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia in the article Book Excerpt from "Flavor". At the center Danielle Reed was able to analyze Holmes' DNA by a saliva sample. He them performed a taste-test where he would sip the liquid, swish it in his mouth, and spit it into a cup. He then indicated how sweet, salty, sour, and bitter it tasted; how intense of an sensation; and how much he liked it. After this was completed he was able to compare these results to his genes. The gene T1R3 contributed to the receptors for sweet and umami, Holmes was tested for a variant of that. Holmes ended up being a TT  which meant that he would be a sweet craver, however Holmes said he didn't prefer sweet things. But Reed explained that Holmes had rated the 12% sugar solution as moderately sweet and high pleasant. Holmes concluded that the link among genes, taste perceptions and actual food choices are not so simple. The sample complexity occurred with Homes bitter taste receptors. Reed then explained this confusion to me; sometimes what you taste isn't what you like, the brain can learn and correct the context. For example if you dislike bitter coffee but enjoy the wake-up jolt it gives you, it will soon become pleasant in your brain. So from this article I have learned that even though genes are connected to the kind of foods you're "supposed" to enjoy, you have the ability to over-ride the system. 

Monell Chemical Senses Center


  1. This was an interesting post. I never would have guessed that what foods you liked are dependent on genes.

  2. great find, no wonder if this occur while babies is in their mother womb