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Booze consumption linked with taste buds

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STORRS, Conn., Nov 15, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A University of Connecticut study has found people with a poor ability to detect bitterness drank more per week than those who recoiled from bitter tastes.

Researchers also found heavier drinkers to have weaker versions of a newly discovered bitter taste gene called TAS2R38.

Led by Dr. Valerie Duffy, researchers asked 31 men and 53 women to rate the taste of different concentrations of a bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil, or PROP. All were light or moderate drinkers.

DNA blood tests were also conducted to determine what kind of TAS2R38 genes the subjects had.

The volunteers were interviewed about how often during the year they drank beer, wine or spirits.

"People who tasted the least bitterness from PROP, or who were TAS2R38 non-tasters, consumed more alcohol than those who tasted the most bitterness from PROP or who were TAS2R38 tasters," Duffy said. "This work suggests that genetics can influence our alcohol drinking behavior, probably based on how pleasant or unpleasant we perceive the oral sensations from alcoholic beverages."

The findings were reported in the journal Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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