Title: Genetic Analysis of PTC and Cilantro Taste Preferences
Author(s): Heather Noxon and Alex Meyer
Abstract: The ability to taste certain chemicals has been studied thoroughly and in some cases shown to be inherited. The best example of this work is illustrated by the inheritance of the ability to taste the chemical phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Because the herb cilantro invokes generally strong preference for or against its flavor it seemed that this polarity suggested an inherited tasting preference. We designed this research project in an attempt to uncover a linkage between the ability to taste PTC and a preference for or against cilantro flavor. In addition, we aimed to observe possible genetic frequencies and inheritance mechanisms for cilantro. Research subjects completed surveys while participating in taste tests of PTC and fresh cilantro. The survey included questions concerning several factors, including the ability to taste PTC and cilantro, taste preferences, sense of smell, etc. Approximately 200 individuals were tested randomly to be included in general population statistics. In addition, another set of participants were members of one of two families studied for pedigrees analysis. Contrary to our hypothesis there does not seem to be a strong polarity in cilantro taste preference. And while the pedigrees do not illustrate a clear genetic mechanism to tasting cilantro they do show that attributing a bitter flavor to cilantro seems directly inherited.