Not a big fan of bacon or ham? Your genes might be behind it, a new study finds.
Researchers found that 70% of participants had two functional copies of a gene linked to a particular odour receptor in the brain. This cellular receptor is attuned to a compound in male mammals called androstenone, which is also common in pork.
What the study found
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 appetising. The findings appear online in the PLoS One.
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 is avoided.
"I would also like to know about odour 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.
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 jobs.
Meat, fish and eggs - how much is enough?
The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery has more about smell and taste.
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