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J Dent Res. 2004 Jun;83(6):448-53.

Genetics of human taste perception.

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, 5 Research Court, Room 2B46, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


Genetic approaches are rapidly yielding new information about our sense of taste. This information comes from both molecular studies of genes encoding taste receptors and other taste-signaling components, and from studies of inherited variation in taste abilities. Our understanding of bitter taste has advanced by combined information from discovery and study of the TAS2R family of taste receptor genes, hand in hand with genetic linkage and positional cloning studies, notably on the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Sweet and umami tastes, mediated by TAS1R receptors, are becoming well-characterized at the molecular genetic level, and these taste classes are now targets for linkage, positional cloning, and genetic association strategies. Salty and sour tastes are still poorly characterized in genetic terms, and represent opportunities for the future.

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