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Many people love coriander and can not get enough of the spicy herb. Others, even with a tiny hint of coriander, disgustedly disgust the face in the meal. It's all a matter of genes, science says. More precisely: the coriander gene. In the case of the coriander researchers have proven that there is indeed a gene that decides whether or not you like the spice herb.
Coriander disgust in numbers
In 2012, a research team from the gene analysis specialist 23andMe evaluated 30,000 samples from all over the world and received exciting results. According to projections, 14 percent of Africans, 17 percent of Europeans and 21 percent of East Asians are disgusted by the soapy taste of coriander. In countries where the herb is very present in the kitchen, such as in South America, the numbers are much lower.
The coriander gene
After many tests on the genetic material of the subjects - including twins - the researchers were able to identify the responsible coriander gene: it is the odor receptor OR6A2. This receptor is present in the genome in two different variants, one reacting vigorously to aldehydes (alcohols which have been deoxygenated), as contained in large numbers of coriander. If a person now inherits this variant twice from his parents, he will perceive the soapy taste of the coriander especially intensively.
Nonetheless, the researchers also emphasize that habituation to coriander also plays an important role in the perception of taste. People who eat coriander often will not be able to absorb the soapy taste any longer and will even be able to enjoy the spice herb someday. In any case, the field of research on coriander is by no means down: there seems to be more than one coriander gene that spoils our appetite.