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Rotten fish smell sweeter if you have a specific genetic mutation

Don’t mind the smell of rotten fish? A genetic mutation may be to blame

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If you don’t find the smell of fish particularly off-putting, you may have an olfactory gene mutation that makes these odours seem less strong and disagreeable.

Kári Stefánsson at Icelandic genomics firm deCODE Genetics and his colleagues have identified a gene, TAAR5, that affects how people perceive odours containing trimethylamine, a compound found in rotten and fermented fish.

To study how genetics affects our sense of smell, the researchers asked 9122 Icelandic adults to smell six odours that were presented in …