Biotech Updates

Genes Explain Smell Preference for Meat

May 4, 2012

Scientists at Duke University reported that around 70 percent of people have two working copies of a gene linked to an odor receptor (OR7D4) involved in detecting androstenone, a compound present in male pork meat. Individuals with one or no functional copy of the gene can tolerate the smell of the compound much better than those with two copies.

"I was surprised at how cleanly this experiment showed who smelled what," Duke associate professor Hiroaki Matsunami said. "The results showed that people with two copies of the functional variant of the gene for that odor receptor thought that the meat smelled worse with higher levels of androstenone added."

The study addressed the concern about banning of a castration method for swine in Europe. The researchers were curious if consumers would respond to meat from noncastrated males. Noncastrated pigs were found to have higher androstrone levels than the castrated pigs.

For more details about the study, read the original article at