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Author Topic: Is there a gene for liking marmite?  (Read 3380 times)

Offline thedoc

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Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« on: 17/07/2012 17:08:24 »
Hi Chris,

I was just idly thinking out loud at work the other day, when I asked...

"...whether there's a gene which codes whether an individual loves or hates Marmite..." "...and if so, if it might also be a marker for something else useful in medicine."

Do you know the answer? Does anyone know the answer?

Regards,

Andrew
Stapleford, Cambridge.
Asked by Andrew Steer


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 

« Last Edit: 17/07/2012 17:08:24 by _system »


 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« Reply #1 on: 16/07/2012 15:24:33 »
I wouldn't have thought that genetics has any influence over likes and dislikes of any sort, even taste. I think it probable that you could find identcal twins where one likes and the other dislikes Marmite.
 

Offline schneebfloob

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Re: Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« Reply #2 on: 16/07/2012 17:31:53 »
It is entirely possible. Here is quite an interesting chemical that exhibits an interesting property:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenylthiocarbamide [nofollow] (apologies for the ugly link). Some people don't notice this, whilst other people can become almost sick because of the taste.

Off-hand, I don't know if there's a gene for liking marmite. But, bearing this chemical in mind, and knowing that genetics is involved in being able to taste it, then I really don't see why not.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« Reply #3 on: 16/07/2012 19:10:03 »
There seems to be a gene for liking cilantro. I don't seem to have it.
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« Reply #4 on: 17/07/2012 10:58:36 »
A gene may make an individual more or less sensative to something, but does it determine like or dislike?
 

Offline schneebfloob

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Re: Is there a gene for liking marmite?
« Reply #5 on: 17/07/2012 15:17:59 »
Whether or not you like something surely must depend on how it tastes to you. Since the genetic makeup of an individual may make them more or less sensitive to a particular compound in some foodstuff (i.e. affects how it tastes to that individual), then surely isn't that at least contributing to whether or not they like it?

To what degree genes determine taste I am uncertain. It is known that the ability to smell plays a huge role in taste, and I seem to think I was reading somewhere recently about a lady who lost her sense of smell, and with it her ability to taste food. The sense of smell involves chemo-receptors in the nose, and genetics could potentially play a huge role in taste on this basis.
« Last Edit: 17/07/2012 15:42:29 by schneebfloob »
 

Offline thedoc

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Hear the answer to this question on our show
« Reply #6 on: 23/07/2012 15:48:36 »
We discussed this question on our  show
Diana -  I'm going to say that I'm ambivalent towards marmite in small quantities. Actually, there is a gene which determines how sensitive people are to compounds called phenylthiocarbamide and propil thiouracil. You find these bitter compounds in things like cabbage and grape seed. Now some people are very sensitive to these bitter compounds and some can't taste them at all and this is genetically determined. Apparently, itís sitting somewhere on chromosome 7. Itís thought that maybe the people who can't take these PTC- like compounds are very sensitive to bitter things like grapefruit, tea, coffee, as well as cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. So, it may be that Marmite is related. Itís got that bitterness element in it.
Click to visit the show page for the podcast in which this question is answered. Alternatively, listen to the answer now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 23/07/2012 15:48:36 by _system »
 

Kevin

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« Reply #7 on: 08/11/2012 13:43:15 »
I don't just like Marmite ... I absolutely LOVE it. As I savour it, I do wonder how on earth people can actually HATE it?! So I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was a genetic basis ...
 

Kevin

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« Reply #8 on: 08/11/2012 13:49:27 »
Okay, here's my theory: some people have a gene that makes Marmite taste as horrid as it looks. Whether those without the gene love it (like me) or are ambivalent (like a previous commenter) might have more to do with how early in life it was introduced to them, what warm fuzzy associations they have from childhood, etc.
 

Simon

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« Reply #9 on: 17/02/2015 20:21:03 »
I doubt it is the same gene as propylthiouracil. PTU tastes disgusting to me, marmite is lovely to me, but I suspect it is genetic.
 

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