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Thread: Human Odor Perception and Naming (Cinnamon, Licorice and Fish)

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    Human Odor Perception and Naming (Cinnamon, Licorice and Fish)

    Sequence Variants in TAAR5 and Other Loci Affect Human Odor Perception and Naming
    Rosa S. Gisladottir et al

    Highlights
    We scanned the genome for variants associated with olfaction in 11,326 Icelanders
    A variant in TAAR5 affects the perception of fish odor containing trimethylamine
    Variants in OR6C70 and other loci are associated with licorice and cinnamon odors

    Summary
    Olfactory receptor (OR) genes in humans form a special class characterized by unusually high DNA sequence diversity, which should give rise to differences in perception and behavior. In the largest genome-wide association study to date based on olfactory testing, we investigated odor perception and naming with smell tasks performed by 9,122 Icelanders, with replication in a separate sample of 2,204 individuals. We discovered an association between a low-frequency missense variant in TAAR5 and reduced intensity rating of fish odor containing trimethylamine (p.Ser95Pro, pcombined = 5.6 10−15). We demonstrate that TAAR5 genotype affects aversion to fish odor, reflected by linguistic descriptions of the odor and pleasantness ratings. We also discovered common sequence variants in two canonical olfactory receptor loci that associate with increased intensity and naming of licorice odor (trans-anethole: lead variant p.Lys233Asn in OR6C70, pcombined = 8.8 10−16 and pcombined = 1.4 10−9) and enhanced naming of cinnamon (trans-cinnamaldehyde; intergenic variant rs317787-T, pcombined = 5.0 10−17). Together, our results show that TAAR5 genotype variation influences human odor responses and highlight that sequence diversity in canonical OR genes can lead to enhanced olfactory ability, in contrast to the view that greater tolerance for mutations in the human OR repertoire leads to diminished function

    Table 1 Association of Sequence Variants with Odor Measures
    Odor rsName EA/OA
    Cinnamon rs317787 T/C
    Licorice rs60683621 G/C
    Fish rs41286168 G/A

    EA, Effect allele; OE, other allele

    I have one copy of rs317787 (appears sometimes in AncestryDNA, but not 23andMe) and enjoy the smell of cinnamon. But I have a friend without a copy and she confirms she can't smell it.

    I don't have a copy of the Licorice or Fish variants (from WGS, doesn't seem to be tested by AncestryDNA or 23andMe) but I can smell both, at least to some extent. The fish variant actually reduces the smell.

    In the appendix of the paper, they also mention rs72921001 which is a well-known variant associated with a soapy taste for cilantro. I have two copies of C (on 23andMe but not AncestryDNA), but cilantro tastes fine to me, even though that's the combination which is mostly likely to lead to a soapy taste.

    How about you?
    Last edited by pmokeefe; 10-08-2020 at 06:47 PM.
    YFull: YF14620 (Dante Labs 2018)

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     jetshop (10-09-2020),  Saetro (10-09-2020)

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    Fascinating. I will have to consult my genome on this.
    I have worked with Trimethylamine and don't mind it as a solvent, but avoid it strongly in fish.
    I love Cinnamon and this flavor extract is something out of my chem lab days.
    As is Anethole.
    Thanks for posting it.

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     pmokeefe (10-09-2020)

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