Posts Tagged ‘Olfaction’

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“Hey, you with the smelly armpits, how about a date ?”

Ahhh, if only this were true ! Sadly, not. However, it would appear that females eschewing us slovenly males may doth protest too much. Recall the popular science lab where females rank their preference to the smell of sweaty t-shirts of unshowered male classmates. Typically, this lab involves the genotyping of a number of Major Histocompatibility (MHC) gene polymorphisms and comparisons that show females prefer the odor of dissimilar MHC genotype. There are, however, well known clusters of odorant receptor genes within the MHC gene super-clusters and these may provide a more direct link from odor to preference. Liza Gross describes related findings in her article, “A Genetic Basis for Hypersensitivity to “Sweaty” Odors in Humans,” where the dosage of an olfactory receptor gene OR11H7P correlated with sensitivity to the odorant isovaleric acid. Although OR11H7P is not located within the commonly assayed MHC super-cluster on human 6p, it is a sweet-smelling step toward understanding mechanisms of female choice.

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