Twin study of the heritability of recognition thresholds for sour and salty taste

Paul M. Wise, Jonathan L. Hansen, Danielle R. Reed, Paul A.S. Breslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Seventy-four pairs of monozygotic (identical) twins and 35 pairs of dizygotic (fraternal) twins provided recognition thresholds (modified Harris-Kalmus test) for the sourness of citric acid and the saltiness of sodium chloride during the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, OH. Variance components (ACE) models were applied to the data: total variation = additive genetic (A) + common environment (C) + nonshared environment (E). The best-fit model of variation in recognition thresholds for sourness included an additive genetic factor, accounting for 53% of the variance, but no common environment component. This level of heritability, on par with that of sensitivity to the bitter compounds 6-n-propylthiouracil and phenylthiocarbamide, strongly suggests that genetic factors play a larger role than shared environment in determining individual differences in recognition thresholds for sourness. In contrast, the best-fit model for saltiness recognition included a common environment component, accounting for 22% of the variance in thresholds, but no additive component. This result suggests that environment plays a larger role than genetics in determining individual differences in recognition thresholds for saltiness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-754
Number of pages6
JournalChemical senses
Volume32
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • Genetics
  • NaCl
  • Perception
  • Variability
  • pH

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