TAS2R38 genotypes and phenylthiocarbamide bitter taste perception in a population of young adults

Nora H. Khataan, Lindsay Stewart, Darren M. Brenner, Marilyn C. Cornelis, Ahmed El-Sohemy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background/Aims:TAS2R38 belongs to the TAS2R bitter taste receptor gene family and polymorphisms are associated with differences in bitter taste perception of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP). The objectives were to test whether the genotype-phenotype relationship varies between ethnocultural groups and whether a filter paper method can predict TAS2R38 genotype. Methods: Subjects (n = 911) aged 20-29 rated the intensity of a PTC-containing filter paper on a scale of 1-9, from 'not at all bitter' to 'extremely bitter'. The TAS2R38 A49P polymorphism was detected by real-time PCR. Results: The overall frequency of the 49A variant was 0.47 and the AA, AP, and PP genotype distribution was 0.24, 0.45 and 0.31, respectively. Those with AA, AP, or PP genotypes had mean bitterness rating scores of 2.3, 4.9, and 5.9, respectively. The 49A variant frequency was significantly lower among Asians (28%) as compared to Caucasians (55%), South Asians (60%) or others (56%) (p < 0.0001). The genotype-phenotype relationship was similar across ethnocultural groups, however, a stronger genotype-phenotype association was observed among women as compared to men. Conclusion: Our findings show that a simple PTC filter paper tasting method strongly predicts TAS2R38 genotype, and that the genotype-phenotype association is similar among ethnocultural groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Bitter taste perception
  • Bitterness
  • Ethnicity
  • Ethnocultural groups
  • Genotyping
  • Phenylthiocarbamide
  • TAS2R38 genotype
  • Taster phenotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Genetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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