2/23/2006

Taste gene role in smoking

by Gloria Meyer

Recent research on the genetics of smoking has focused on genes that are thought to be related to nicotine metabolism, personality traits, and regulation of emotions. According to a genetic study just published in "Nicotine and Tobacco Research," genes responsible for taste also may yield important information about who smokes and why they smoke.

Researchers from UW-Madison and University of Utah wanted to determine if a "bitterness" gene-phenylthiocarbamide (PTC)-was related to smoking status.

A surprising result, which must be replicated for scientific accuracy, was the discovery that smokers with a different, less common genetic variant for taste were the least likely to smoke.

"What this study tells us is that genetic factors involving the taste of cigarettes should be examined as part of the analysis of nicotine dependence."said Dale Cannon with the University of Utah, lead author of the study.

What researchers did not find is any gender differences in tasting bitterness and smoking.

Taste gene may play role in smoking (Feb 22, 2006)

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