In the February 21 Science, Un-kyung Kim and colleagues report the isolation of a human gene that accounts for taste sensitivity to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) (Science, 299:1228-1231, February 21, 2003).

Genome-wide linkage analysis identified a region on chromosome 7q that contains over a hundred genes. Analysis of linkage disequilibrium and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) narrowed the search to a 30 kb interval containing only a new TAS2R bitter taste receptor gene. Three common SNPs within the coding region of the TAS2R gene generated five haplotypes, which can account for the bimodal distribution of PTC taste sensitivity worldwide.

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