To Taste Or Not To Taste? PTC: Genes and Bitter Taste Ms. Z 1/8/10 Phenylthiocarbamide Accidentally discovered in 1931 by Arthur Fox. Tastes extremely bitter to some people but not others. Chemical structure resembles toxins found in plants. The PTC Gene The ability to taste PTC is determined by a single gene, which codes for a taste receptor on your tongue. There are 2 alleles: taster (T) or non-taster (t). For the PTC gene: How many genotypes are possible? How many phenotypes are possible? To Taste Or Not To Taste? You will inventory the PTC-tasting trait in your family and build a pedigree. Are you testing for genotype or phenotype? Evolutionary Importance of Bitter Taste Many natural bitter substances are toxins. Plants produce many toxins in order to protect themselves from being eaten. Bitter taste evolved in early humans to prevent consumption of poisonous plants. Health Applications People who find PTC bitter may be less likely to smoke, because they find the taste of cigarettes bitter. The ability to taste PTC may also correlate to food preferences.
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