Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The taste of quinine: It's in your bitter genes

Date:
August 2, 2010
Source:
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Summary:
Scientists report that individual differences in how people experience quinine's bitterness are related to underlying differences in their genes.

Some people find quinine to be bitter while others can drink it like water. Now, scientists from the Monell Center and collaborators report that individual differences in how people experience quinine's bitterness are related to underlying differences in their genes.

The findings, published online in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, demonstrate that genetic variation in regions of DNA that encode bitter taste receptors predicts a person's perception of bitterness from quinine.

Quinine is an anti-malarial drug that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. Very small amounts are used to flavor tonic water.

"This study teaches us that naturally occurring medicinal compounds taste differently to people based on variations in and near a bitter receptor gene," said lead author Danielle R. Reed, PhD, a behavioral geneticist at Monell.

It was previously known that people vary in their ability to taste synthetic bitter compounds based on their taste receptor DNA. However, not all bitter compounds are detected by the same receptors and it was not known if bitter perception of naturally-occurring medicines like quinine also was affected by genetic makeup.

In the study, 1457 twins and their siblings tasted quinine and rated its intensity. They also provided DNA samples.

The researchers then evaluated over two million places in the human genome to see whether people who were more similar in their perception of quinine also shared the same pattern of DNA.

They identified a region on chromosome 12 that was both near a bitter receptor and also associated with perception of quinine's bitterness.

Testing a separate set of 73 twins, Reed and her collaborators confirmed that DNA changes within a gene coding for bitter receptors were associated with how intensely people perceived the bitterness of quinine.

"Depending on differences in human DNA, some people find quinine to be more bitter than others do," said Reed.

In addition to being located in the mouth, bitter receptors also are found in the gut. It is possible that people who are insensitive to quinine's taste might also absorb or metabolize it differently.

Noting that both the taste perception of a compound and its pharmacological properties might be conveyed via the same receptors, Reed speculates, "We wonder whether people who are less sensitive to the taste of some bitter medicines might get less pharmacological benefit from them."

Future studies will seek to determine whether people who perceive quinine as more bitter are also more likely to benefit from quinine's anti-malarial actions.

Also contributing to the study were Paul Breslin and Fujiko Duke from Monell and Gu Zhu, Anjali Henders, Megan Campbell, Grant Montgomery, Sarah Medland, Nicholas Martin, and Margaret Wright from Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Australia. The research was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the Australian Research Council.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Monell Chemical Senses Center. "The taste of quinine: It's in your bitter genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802125848.htm>.
Monell Chemical Senses Center. (2010, August 2). The taste of quinine: It's in your bitter genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802125848.htm
Monell Chemical Senses Center. "The taste of quinine: It's in your bitter genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802125848.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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