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Food preference

Submitted by asalamon on Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:55

Both between and within populations, human taste preference varies between every individual.  Within humans, an assemblage of factors affect food preference like genetics, environmental conditions, and culture (Robino, Concas, Catamo, & Gasparini, 2019).  Due to advancements in molecular genetics, the understanding of food preference as it relates to sensory perceptions is being uncovered. Not only does genes coding for the taste and olfactory receptors have an effect on food preference but novel genes also have an influence as well (Robino, Concas, Catamo, & Gasparini, 2019).  The connection of novel genes to direct genes shows the complexity of food perception in the body. Through heritability studies, there is conclusive evidence that food preference is heritable but there is another variable that also has an effect on food preference (Robino, Concas, Catamo, & Gasparini, 2019). If there is any advantage to specific foods being consumed, then these food preferences would be selected for and passed down to the next generation.  At the genetic level, DNA polymorphisms are responsible for taste and smell variations between individuals. For example, the TAS2R38 receptor detects bitter taste and just a single nucleotide mutation can lead to a variable taste perception (Robino, Concas, Catamo, & Gasparini, 2019). Within the body, there is a complex system of gene expression interacting with cultural and environmental influences which determine an individual’s food preferences.