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Appetite. 2017 Jul 1;114:240-247. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.046. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

A bio-cultural approach to the study of food choice: The contribution of taste genetics, population and culture.

Author information

1
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: davide.risso2@unibo.it.
2
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: cristina.giuliani2@unibo.it.
3
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via Ghini 13, 56126 Pisa, Italy.
4
University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, Bra, Pollenzo 12042, CN, Italy.
5
Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine (DIMES), University of Bologna, Via San Giacomo 12, 40126 Bologna, Italy.
6
Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology and Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna, Via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

The study of food choice, one of the most complex human traits, requires an integrated approach that takes into account environmental, socio-cultural and biological diversity. We recruited 183 volunteers from four geo-linguistic groups and highly diversified in terms of both genetic background and food habits from whom we collected genotypes and phenotypes tightly linked to taste perception. We confirmed previous genetic associations, in particular with stevioside perception, and noted significant differences in food consumption: in particular, broccoli, mustard and beer consumption scores were significantly higher (Adjusted P = 0.02, Adjusted P < 0.0001 and Adjusted P = 0.01, respectively) in North Europeans, when compared to the other groups. Licorice and Parmesan cheese showed lower consumption and liking scores in the Sri Lankan group (Adjusted P = 0.001 and Adjusted P < 0.001, respectively). We also highlighted how rs860170 (TAS2R16) strongly differentiated populations and was associated to salicin bitterness perception. Identifying genetic variants on chemosensory receptors that vary across populations and show associations with taste perception and food habits represents a step towards a better comprehension of this complex trait, aimed at improving the individual health status. This is the first study that concurrently explores the contribution of genetics, population diversity and cultural aspects in taste perception and food consumption.

KEYWORDS:

Food choice; Genetics; Nutrition; Population diversity; Taste

PMID:
28366770
DOI:
10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.046
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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