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Why you Love or Hate Coriander? Could it be Your Genes...

Coriander is somewhere like the city of Marseille "we love it or we hate it! ". It is also curious to note a real aversion to those who do not like cilantro. And it will be impossible for you to make them taste the least milligram of coriander. In this case, we will note an astonishing taste description of coriander “smells of detergent, tastes of soap, mold, dishwashing liquid, disgusting, etc…” But then why do others find it so sublime? Why such a difference in appreciation? Such a bipolarization?

A genetic survey of nearly 30,000 people identified two genetic variants linked to the perception of cilantro, the most common of which is a gene involved in odor detection. According to this study published in 2012 in the journal Flavor1, 21% of Asians, 17% of Europeans and 14% of Africans would not like the said aromatic herb. Thus, lovers of coriander are mainly those for whom it is essential: only 7% of South Asians, 4% of Hispanics and 3% of inhabitants of the Middle East say they do not like it.

Behavioral neuroscientist Charles J. Wysocki of the Morell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia attempted to identify the polarizing nature of coriander leaves. Charles Wysocki studied the preferences for cilantro in twins, both fraternal and identical. In identical twins, if one of the twins hates the smell of cilantro, the other is more likely to hate it; the other side of the coin is also true. If an identical twin likes the scent, the other will likely like it too.

"This does not hold true for fraternal twins," Wysocki explains, adding that these results "very strongly suggest that what people underlie preference is genetically determined."

Continuing research: highly aromatic, the aldehydes found in coriander leaf are released when the plant leaf is crumpled between your fingers or when you chew it. Aldehyde is also a chemical component found in both cilantro and soap! Do we have a lead? Some would visualize cilantro as soap?

In an article in The Guardian newspaper, neuroscientist Jay Gottfried of Northwestern University in Chicago believes that this particular loathing for cilantro comes from this likeness to soap. For him, the brain puts food smells into categories it already knows and will think, in this specific case, that it is an inedible product.

There is indeed a gene, a programmer of the olfactory receptor, which particularly detects aldehydes. The gene in question is 0R6A2 which controls sensitivity to aldehydes and which codes for olfactory and taste receptors. These receptors therefore send signals to our brain to transform them into descriptors of aromas and flavors. So those who hate cilantro simply have this gene which is overexpressed.