Monday, October 03, 2005

Genetics of Taste in Annual Review   posted by Razib @ 10/03/2005 11:31:00 PM

I noticed that the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics had a paper titled Human Taste Genetics up, so I put it in the gnxp files as "taste." I've posted on taste before (see here, here, here and here), so I thought readers might find it interesting. One point to note is that the author suggests that his own research points to the possibility that non-tasters for PTC might not actually be a typical loss-of-function mutation (ie; the old model was that non-tasters were recessive homozygous), but rather they could be cued toward another type of bitterness that has not been properly characterized. Note how other taste qualia, like sweetness, are often described as having a narrow unimodal distribution. This might be indicative of strong directional selection purifying most of the genetic diversity so that most humans are fixed for a particular trait. As the paper notes most of the variation seems currently related to the bitter tastes (though Africans seem to have more than the typical amount of taste variation, one case where they are the most diverse peoples in the world).