Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Odorprints Like Fingerprints? Personal Odors Remain Distinguishable Regardless Of Diet

Date:
November 3, 2008
Source:
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Summary:
Scientists present behavioral and chemical findings to reveal that an individual's underlying odor signature remains detectable even in the face of major dietary changes. The findings indicate that biologically-based odorprints, like fingerprints, could be a reliable way to identify individual humans.

Humans, like other mammals, are known to have unique genetically-determined body odors, called 'odortypes.'
Credit: iStockphoto/Stephanie Phillips

Scientists from the Monell Center present behavioral and chemical findings to reveal that an individual's underlying odor signature remains detectable even in the face of major dietary changes.

"The findings using this animal model support the proposition that body odors provide a consistent 'odorprint' analogous to a fingerprint or DNA sample," said Gary Beauchamp, PhD, a behavioral biologist at Monell and one of the paper's senior authors. "This distinctive odor can be detected using either an animal's nose or chemical instruments."

Mammals such as mice and humans are known to have unique genetically-determined body odors, called 'odortypes.' Thought to be identity biomarkers that help distinguish individuals from one another, odortypes are determined in part by genes of the major histocompatability complex (MHC). The same genes also are involved in the immune system.

Odortype information is transmitted through body fluids such as sweat and urine, which contain numerous airborne chemical molecules known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, many of which are odorous.

The type of food eaten also can influence an individual's body odor; garlic, for example can be detected by smell when consumed in large amounts. As such, dietary changes potentially could obstruct detection of genetically-determined odortype and thus mask individual identity. To address this question, the researchers conducted a series of behavioral and chemical experiments.

In behavioral tests, 'sensor' mice were trained to use their sense of smell to choose between pairs of test mice that differed in MHC genes, diet or both. Chemical analyses used instrumentation to examine the array of VOC's in urine of mice having different MHC backgrounds and fed different diets.

The results indicate that genetically-determined odortypes persist regardless of diet, even though dietary changes do strongly influence odor profiles of individual mice. Changing diet ingredients did not obscure detection of underlying odortypes using either behavioral or chemical methods.

"These findings indicate that biologically-based odorprints, like fingerprints, could be a reliable way to identify individuals. If this can be shown to be the case for humans, it opens the possibility that devices can be developed to detect individual odorprints in humans," said lead author Jae Kwak, PhD, a Monell chemist.

According to Beauchamp, similar approaches are being used to investigate body odor differences associated with disease. Such research could lead to the development of electronic sensors for early detection and rapid diagnosis of disorders such as skin and lung cancer and certain viral diseases.

This research is published in the October 31 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE. Also contributing to the study were Monell researchers Koichi Matsumura, Maryanne Curran Opiekun, Weiguang Yi (currently at the University of Georgia), George Preti, and Kunio Yamazaki, and Alan Willse (Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, currently at Monsanto Company).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monell Chemical Senses Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kwak et al. Genetically-Based Olfactory Signatures Persist Despite Dietary Variation. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3 (10): e3591 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003591

Cite This Page:

Monell Chemical Senses Center. "Odorprints Like Fingerprints? Personal Odors Remain Distinguishable Regardless Of Diet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030203247.htm>.
Monell Chemical Senses Center. (2008, November 3). Odorprints Like Fingerprints? Personal Odors Remain Distinguishable Regardless Of Diet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030203247.htm
Monell Chemical Senses Center. "Odorprints Like Fingerprints? Personal Odors Remain Distinguishable Regardless Of Diet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030203247.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

How A 'Rule Of Thumb' Could Slow Down Drinking

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A study suggests people who follow a "rule of thumb" when pouring wine dispense less than those who don't have a particular amount in mind. 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