Our sense of smell depends on our olfactory receptor genes, which code for specific receptors that detect odorants. Studies have previously found that genetic variation around these olfactory receptor genes was related to differences in the sense of smell for certain odors. For floral scents, the key odorant is beta-ionone.

In one study, investigators looked at how the genetics of 100 Caucasian adults related to their perception of other scents, including people's sensitivity to floral scents. The genome-wide association study found an association between beta-ionone perception and variation in a genetic region in Chromosome 11. At this specific region, there is a cluster of 12 odor receptor genes. Moreover, variation at this gene locus explained an astounding 57.8% of the differences in sensitivity to beta-ionone perception. The investigators postulate that an individual's beta-ionone sensitivity has two different 'sensitivity modes,' where individuals who have the dominant gene variant (the 'G' allele) will be sensitive to this scent and those with the recessive gene variant will be less able to perceive the odor. Here's a link to the original study, if you want to get all the details: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23910658

Indeed, the study is limited in that the sample size is quite small (only up to 187 individuals), it is nonetheless exciting to begin to understand how our DNA influences the way in which we perceive the world around us. Your flavor world is different from anyone else's, and your genes are making that happen.

So check Genomelink now to find out more about your sensitivity to floral scents!



Sensitivity to Floral Scent

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