Are you an IPA beer fan? Your genes greatly influence whether you like hoppy, bitter brews

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Maybe you love IPAs, maybe you hate them. Either way, your strong feelings about this beer style have origins beyond your control. Much in the same way we react in different ways to the flavor of cilantro, our reaction to hoppy beers is based, in part, on our genes.

Thanks to evolution, we’re born with an instinctive “blech” reaction to anything that tastes bitter.

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“The genes make a protein that sits in your taste buds, in the papillae on your tongue, acting as a receptor,” [Dr. Nicole Garneau] says. “Molecules from food sit atop this receptor and send signals to your brain, and the brain can say, ‘That’s bitter.’”

Some of us have differences in these genes. Our genes are made of codons, themselves made of nucleotides. If these nucleotides are arranged in a different order for a particular codon, it changes how that gene behaves. A different order for a tasting receptor gene changes the receptor’s shape, so the food molecules don’t bind and the signal can’t travel to the brain: No bitterness is detected. Twenty-five percent of the population can’t detect bitterness.

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With the growing popularity of IPAs, it’s clear the quest for big flavor has conquered our human dislike for the bitter taste.

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Read full, original post: Hate IPAs? It’s Because Your Genetics Programmed You To Dislike Bitter Beers.

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