Hate Cilantro? It Could Be In Your Genes
Cultural Cuisines Play A Large Part
Whether it's ruining a batch of salsa, adding a soapy flavor to your burrito or warding off werewolves, cilantro may be one of the most hated food plants on Earth. But is your hatred of the bitter herb just a personal preference ... or could it be in your genes?
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According to a couple of new studies published this month, distaste for coriander leaves, better known as cilantro, could reside in your genetic makeup.
In one study by personal genetics company 23andMe, the genes of 30,000 people were studied. People who expressed a dislike for cilantro were found to have a genetic variant that increased the perception of soapy smells. In other words, their sense of bitter tastes could be more sensitive.
However, researchers point out that cilantro-aversion involves multiple genes and that it probably only accounts for 10 percent of why we actually hate it. The rest likely has to do with our cultural cusines.
Writes Ewen Callaway at Nature:
"21% of east Asians, 17% of people of European ancestry and 14% of people of African descent say they dislike the stuff, according to a paper published this year in the journal Flavour. By contrast, 3 - 7% of south Asians, Latin Americans and Middle Eastern subjects disapproved of the herb, which is more common in their native cuisines."
So there you go. Cilantro may have a place in your enchiladas, but probably not in your fish and chips. For the sake of tastebuds everywhere, please learn the difference.