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Genes Play Major Role in Determining Individual's Sour Taste Perception

53 percent of the variation.

The finding that genes influence sour taste perception suggest that genetic analyses could potentially help identify sour receptors. Future studies will evaluate possible receptors by determining whether individual differences in genes for these structures - such as the recently-discovered PKD ion channel - are correlated with individual differences in sensitivity to sourness.

For any given candidate receptor, a strong association of genetic with perceptual variation would support the likelihood that the receptor detects sour taste.

The findings, in conjunction with previous work on sweet, bitter, and umami (savoury) taste, suggest that people differ in how they perceive the taste of foods, and that these differences are determined in part by their taste genes. So someone who inherited a high sensitivity to sour taste may find foods containing lemons or vinegar off-putting, whereas the same foods may be better accepted by a person whose genes make them less sensitive.

"These taste perceptions presumably evolved because they have a significant impact on food choice and therefore nutrition. If we can understand how and why people differ in their taste perception, we might eventually be able to manipulate the taste of individual diets to help encourage healthy eating," Wise said.


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