Gene: Don’t like to Eat Greens?

Source: Don’t eat greens? It’s all in the genes, 17-09-2006

In the new study Mari Hakala and Paul Breslin, of Monell Chemical Senses centre in Philadelphia, suggest that a dislike of certain vegetables has evolved in some people because their ancestors lived in areas where eating them was potentially damaging.

Glucosinolates, chemicals in vegetables such as broccoli, turnips and horseradish, can partially block the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland. The element is vital to growth and sexual development. Among people with low iodine intakes — mainly in areas far from the sea, such as the Andes in South America — vegetables containing glucosinolates would increase the risk of stunted growth and mental retardation.

The findings showed that there were two versions of the gene, one sensitive and one insensitive. People with two sensitive genes found broccoli horribly bitter, while those with two insensitive ones enjoyed it.

The findings will be published this week in the journal Current Biology.

More information from other article:

In the new work, researchers were able to show that different genetic versions of this same receptor, known as hTAS2R38, specifically determine people’s perception of plants that synthesize glucosinolates. In their experiments, the researchers divided a test array of vegetables into those that contain glucosinolates, such as broccoli and turnips, and those that do not contain known glucosinolates. The researchers found that individuals possessing two copies of a “sensitive” version of the hTAS2R38 gene rated the glucosinolate-containing vegetables as 60% more bitter than did subjects possessing two copies of an “insensitive” version of the receptor gene. In comparison, individuals possessing one copy of each version of the gene rated the bitterness of glucosinolate-containing vegetables at an intermediate level.

The researchers found that the differences in bitterness perception by the “sensitive” and “insensitive” hTAS2R38 groups reached statistical significance for six vegetables: watercress, mustard greens, turnip, broccoli, rutabaga, and horseradish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: