Earlier this year a study published in the journal Flavour suggested that cilantro aversion could have a genetic component. At the time, the genes hadn't been identified, but now new research has traced cilantro dislike to the same genes that encode odor and taste receptors.
According to Nature, a genetic survey posted to the preprint server arXiv.org last week links the perception of cilantro to two key genetic variants involving taste and smell. Multiple other studies have confirmed this link, including a study led by researchers at the consumer genetics firm 23andMe in Mountain View, California. After asking people whether coriander tasted like soap and whether or not they liked the herb, the researchers discovered,
The strongest-linked variant lies within a cluster of olfactory-receptor genes, which influence sense of smell. One of those genes, OR6A2, encodes a receptor that is highly sensitive to aldehyde chemicals, which contribute to the flavour of coriander [or cilantro]. This makes OR6A2 "a compelling candidate gene for the detection of the odours that give it its divisive flavour", the researchers write.
A study soon to be published in the journal Chemical Senses also found a link between coriander taste and genes for the bitter-taste receptor. However, scientists still say that "less than 10% of coriander preference is due to common genetic variants," and that "the heritability of cilantro preference is just rather low."
Read More: Soapy Taste of Coriander Is Linked to Genetic Variants | Nature
(Image: Inacio Pires/Shutterstock)