Food & Nutrition

Sensitivity to Apples: Why the Smell of Apples Affects People Differently

If you have a sensitivity to apples, the reason could lie within your genetic makeup. Learn more at Genomelink.

Join now & unlock 300+ unique Traits like this.

100+ are available for free


If you are sensitive to the smell of apples, the reason could be in your DNA. Learn how the power of genomic science can help you discover your full potential.

The smell of apples isn’t a particularly controversial topic. No one was ever kicked off of public transportation because they were carrying an aromatic bag of apples. If you microwave an apple in the office kitchen, you probably won’t get dirty looks from anyone.

So, does anyone have a real sensitivity to apples? Is there a portion of the population that simply can’t tolerate being around a Golden Delicious?

While some people might experience sensitivity to apples, for the overwhelming majority of us, apples smell lovely. In fact – it’s one of the foundational scents in several designer perfumes and scented candles. So, if you have sensitivity to apples, what does it mean?

What is Smell Sensitivity?

The way you perceive smells has a lot to do with your genetic makeup, though certain infections and injuries can compromise your sense of smell. But our olfactory senses are complicated.

Have you ever wondered what causes something to smell the way it does? Simply put, your sense of smell is how receptors in your nose detect certain compounds.

For instance, apples smell the way they do because of a compound called beta-damascenone. When our olfactory receptors detect beta-damascenone, we perceive it as a smell.

The ability of our olfactory receptors to detect individual chemicals varies. Some people don’t have a particularly acute sense of smell. Others can catch even the slightest presence of a smell-inducing compound. Everyone has a different smell sensitivity and genetic factors play a large role in determining it.

How Do Genes Create Sensitivity to Apples?

Smelling apples might be natural to you if you’ve smelled them your entire life. However, many people aren’t as lucky. Having an intolerance to a smell that others find quite pleasant can create awkward social situations. Moreover, it could be an indication of an underlying medical issue.

How well you can smell the world around you is surprisingly important: for example, part of how you taste food (like apples) is dictated by your sense of smell.

In a 2013 study, it was found that a gene locus in the same region as 98 olfactory receptor genes was associated with the extent to which an individual was sensitive to the smell of apples. This finding suggests that the clustered genes coding for olfactory receptors may influence how an individual may smell apples. The association was also seen in a completely different population, providing further evidence that the specific gene locus is meaningful.

How Do I Find What Genes I Have?

Smell sensitivity can shape the way you see the world in many ways. You might not even realize you have a particular smell sensitivity or lack of sensitivity! With genetic DNA testing, you can better understand your full genetic profile and how it affects your everyday life.

You can access your raw DNA file if you’ve taken an at-home DNA test from a service like 23andMe or MyHeritage. At Genomelink, we provide comprehensive genetic evaluations of your raw DNA data, giving you the information you need to make the best choices about your health and lifestyle.

Let us help you understand your genetic makeup – sign up with Genomelink today!

Join now & unlock 300+ unique Traits like this.

100+ are available for free