NIH News Release
National Institute of Dental
and Craniofacial Research

Wednesday, February 24, 1999

Contact: Wayne Little

Researchers Identify Candidate "Taste" Genes

A collaborative effort between scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has identified the genes likely responsible for the mammalian sense of taste. In the February 19 issue of the journal Cell, the researchers describe genes that encode two novel proteins expressed in cells specifically geared to the sense of taste. The isolation of the candidate taste receptor genes provides the groundwork necessary for manipulating the perception of taste and stimulating or blocking taste cell function. The discovery could one day hold implications for engineering foods to specific taste qualities.

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