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Neurosci Lett. 1992 Jul 6;141(1):115-8.

Evidence for genetic determination in human twins of olfactory thresholds for a standard odorant.

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Department of Membrane Research, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Olfactory thresholds for four odorants were determined in groups of monozygotic and dizygotic human twins. Odorants were presented in an ascending dilution series in odorless solvent, using a three-way forced choice method. For two of the tested odorants, 5 alpha-androst-16-en-3-one and isoamyl acetate, the thresholds showed a strong genetic component. This was demonstrated by respective values of 0.78 and 0.73 for the intraclass correlation difference, and of z = 3.69 and z = 2.71 in a within-pair difference analysis. The results for isoamyl acetate are novel, and suggest that genetic polymorphism in the affinity of odorant receptor proteins contributes to the (nearly normal) threshold distribution for this odorant.

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