Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

Taste Test

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Coffee - it’s an acquired taste! Or is it?


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


Some of us love the bitter taste of coffee - others prefer sweet colas! Why is that?


Marilyn Cornelis of Northwestern University wondered if the answer is in our DNA. She surveyed over three hundred thousand people about their choice of libations. Participants also donated DNA samples.


Cornelis compared drink preference with genetic patterns to see if certain genes stood out. Do the genes that control our taste buds influence what we drink?


Nope - turns out, it’s all in your head - not your tongue!


Many coffee lovers have genetic mutations related to brain function. These specific genes are involved in food reward pathways in the brain. See, some foods make us feel good, so our brains make us crave those foods more.


Cornelis thinks that people with these gene changes might get a bigger coffee high than those without. So their brains respond by craving that bitter dark roast!


Hmmmm! I guess caffeine isn’t the only reason I’m addicted to coffee! Coffee...