The Loh Down On Science

Eau de Cilantro

Cilantro--taco’s friend or tastes like dish soap?

?This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.? ?

If you hate a certain spicy Mexican green, could it be due to your biology? Researcher Nicholas Eriksson says yes.  If you taste soapsuds when you take a bite with cilantro in it-- Ugh! I said no cilantro!--the culprit may not be your tongue, but your nose.? ?

Consumer genetics firm 23andMe separated 25,000 participants into two groups.  Some liked cilantro, others loathed it. They took a peek at everyone's DNA and found ... ? That cilantro haters were more likely to have a certain olfactory gene located on chromosome 11.  

The gene is known as OR6A2.  It makes people sensitive to the sudsy smells of aldehyde chemicals.  These are present in, you guessed it, cilantro. ??So if you don't like those little leaves, tell your friends and family to blame it not on you but on OR6A2.??

Or next time you take a bite, try holding your nose.  As to whether that endears you to your fellow diners, more research is needed.

<em>The Loh Down on Science</em> is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


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