Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Are Some People Oblivious To The 'Sweaty' Smell Of A Locker Room?

Date:
November 1, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Some people are oblivious to the odor in the locker room after a game, while others wrinkle their noses at the slightest whiff of sweat. This difference is at least partly genetic. Women were generally slightly more sensitive to many smells than men, and some individuals of both sexes were better or worse in across-the-board acuity to all odorants.

Some people are oblivious to the odor in the locker room after a game, while others wrinkle their noses at the slightest whiff of sweat. Research by Prof. Doron Lancet, research student Idan Menashe, and colleagues, published in this month's PLoS Biology, shows that this difference is at least partly genetic.

Our sense of smell often takes a back seat to our other senses, but humans can perceive up to 10,000 different odors. Like mice, which boast a highly developed sense of smell, we have about 1000 different genes for the smell-detecting receptors in our olfactory "retinas." In humans, however, over half of these genes have become defunct in the last few million years. Some of these genes are "broken" in all people, while others still function in some of the population.

Lancet and his coauthors, from several institutions in Israel and Florida, had their experimental volunteers sniff varying concentrations of compounds that smelled like banana, eucalyptus, spearmint, or sweat. They compared their ability to detect each odor with their patterns of receptor gene loss. The team found that one gene (OR11H7P) appeared to be associated with the capacity of smelling sweat.

Genetic epidemiology analysis reveals a multifaceted mechanism underlying enhanced olfactory sensitivity to the sweaty odor of isovaleric acid in humans.

When participants had two genes with disrupting mutations, they were likely to be impervious to the offending odor, while those that were hypersensitive to the smell had at least one intact gene.

The scientists noted, however, that while having at least one intact OR11H7P gene might determine if you can smell whether your loved one has just come from the gym, this is not the entire story.

Women were generally slightly more sensitive to many smells than men, and some individuals of both sexes were better or worse in across-the-board acuity to all odorants. Furthermore, as is always the case, not all variation was caused by genetic differences; environmental factors were seen to play an important role as well.

Citation: Menashe I, Abaffy T, Hasin Y, Goshen S, Yahalom V, et al. (2007) Genetic elucidation of human hyperosmia to isovaleric acid. PLoS Biol 5(11): e284. doi:10.1371/ journal.pbio.0050284


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Why Are Some People Oblivious To The 'Sweaty' Smell Of A Locker Room?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030080645.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, November 1). Why Are Some People Oblivious To The 'Sweaty' Smell Of A Locker Room?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030080645.htm
Public Library of Science. "Why Are Some People Oblivious To The 'Sweaty' Smell Of A Locker Room?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030080645.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Electrical Stimulation Boosts Brain Function, Study Says

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Researchers found an improvement in memory and learning function in subjects who received electric pulses to their brains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins