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Chem Senses. 2004 Oct;29(8):697-702.

Bitter taste study in a sardinian genetic isolate supports the association of phenylthiocarbamide sensitivity to the TAS2R38 bitter receptor gene.

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  • 1Shardna Life Sciences, Cagliari, Italy.


Recently, a major locus on chromosome 7q was found in association with the taste sensitivity to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) in humans. This region contains the TAS2R38 gene that encodes a member of the TAS2R bitter taste receptor family. Three SNPs within this gene demonstrated a strong association with taster status in Utah families and in an additional sample of 85 unrelated individuals. We studied a small isolated village in eastern Sardinia and carried out a genome-wide scan to map the genetic basis of PTC perception in this population. We performed both qualitative and quantitative PTC-taste linkage analysis. Qualitative analysis was carried out by defining a cut-off from the bimodal distribution of the trait and classifying subjects as tasters and non-tasters (75 and 25%, respectively). Linkage analysis on 131 subjects belonging to a unique large multi-generation pedigree comprising 239 subjects confirmed significant evidence for linkage at 7q35 also in our population. Haplotype analyses of the three SNPs inside the PTC gene allowed us to identify only two haplotypes that were associated with the non-taster phenotype (80% AVI homozygous) and to taster phenotype (40% PAV homozygous and 56% PAV/AVI heterozygous). Sex, age and haplotype effect explained 77.2 % of the total variance in PTC sensitivity.

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