Odor Receptor Genotype May Be Cause of Meat Aversion

Having two copies of functional odor gene variant ups sensitivity to androstenone-containing meat

THURSDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Having two copies of a functional odor receptor gene variant (OR7D4 RT) is associated with increased sensitivity to androstenone, and androstenone-containing meat, according to a study published online May 2 in PLoS One.

Noting that human OR7D4 responds to androstenone and that genetic variation in OR7D4 predicts differences in androstenone perception, Kathrine Lunde, from the Norwegian Meat Research Centre in Oslo, and colleagues investigated the correlation between OR7D4 genotype and the ability to detect androstenone in cooked pork. Participants evaluated cooked meat samples with varying levels of androstenone.

The researchers found that, compared with participants carrying a nonfunctional OR7D4 WM variant, participants with two copies of the functional OR7D4 RT variant were more sensitive to androstenone. During sniffing and tasting of pork with varying levels of androstenone, subjects with two copies of the RT variant tended to rate the androstenone-containing meat as less favorable than did subjects carrying the WM variant.

"Our data is consistent with the idea that OR7D4 genotype predicts the sensory perception of meat containing androstenone and that genetic variation in an odorant receptor can alter food preferences," the authors write.

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