Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Topics on biology, genetics, and food

Cilantro and olfactory receptor variation
Olfactory sensing account for most of the food flavor.

Different noses for different mice and men
Lactase versus amylase, in human evolution
Entry on lactose intolerance
new paper just out in Nature Genetics gives us another example. In this work, researchers found that groups that tended to eat more starch had more amylase in their spit. This makes some sense as amylase is the protein that breaks down starch into sugars we can use.

Archaeology: The milk revolution
When a single genetic mutation first let ancient Europeans drink milk, it set the stage for a continental upheaval.

Alcohol consumption in Eastern Asia

Caffeine and human genetics
The genes identified were CYP1A2 (Cytochrome P450 1A2), which has previously been implicated in the metabolism of caffeine, and AHR, involved in the regulation of CYP1A2. Individuals with the highest-consumption genotype for either gene consumed ~40 mg more caffeine than those with the lowest-consumption genotype, equivalent to the amount of 1/3 cup of caffeinated coffee, or 1 can of cola.

Calorie restriction, red wine, and longevity

Calorie restriction, telomere length and 

NPR, lifestyle influences telomere length and cancer risks.

Human microbiome and food

Taste receptor and SNP

 How do we taste food?

Humans only recognize five tastes, but we can recognize thousands of smells. It is the way the brain puts together the tastes with the smells, temperature and mouth feel that creates our perception of "flavor".  As much as 85% of the perception of taste comes from the sense of smell  Taste perception 3D animation

Olfactory receptor Ordor perception, 3D animation
Sense of taste and smell  A very nice summary video

Tofu in China
Rice-growing culture - Wild China - BBC
Chopsticks versus forks

Tea and buddhism

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