Document Detail

Genetics of taste and smell: poisons and pleasures.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21036327     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Eating is dangerous. While food contains nutrients and calories that animals need to produce heat and energy, it may also contain harmful parasites, bacteria, or chemicals. To guide food selection, the senses of taste and smell have evolved to alert us to the bitter taste of poisons and the sour taste and off-putting smell of spoiled foods. These sensory systems help people and animals to eat defensively, and they provide the brake that helps them avoid ingesting foods that are harmful. But choices about which foods to eat are motivated by more than avoiding the bad; they are also motivated by seeking the good, such as fat and sugar. However, just as not everyone is equally capable of sensing toxins in food, not everyone is equally enthusiastic about consuming high-fat, high-sugar foods. Genetic studies in humans and experimental animals strongly suggest that the liking of sugar and fat is influenced by genotype; likewise, the abilities to detect bitterness and the malodors of rotting food are highly variable among individuals. Understanding the exact genes and genetic differences that affect food intake may provide important clues in obesity treatment by allowing caregivers to tailor dietary recommendations to the chemosensory landscape of each person.
Danielle Renee Reed; Antti Knaapila
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Progress in molecular biology and translational science     Volume:  94     ISSN:  1878-0814     ISO Abbreviation:  Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci     Publication Date:  2010  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-01     Completed Date:  2011-07-27     Revised Date:  2013-07-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101498165     Medline TA:  Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  213-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Calcium / metabolism
Feeding Behavior
Poisons / adverse effects*
Smell / genetics*
Taste / genetics*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Poisons; 7440-70-2/Calcium

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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