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August 2, 2013

Study shows genetics can determine why we smell certain odors differently

(Continued)

"We can give [companies] a feel for the percentages of their target market that will be able to smell a given flavor by extrapolating out to all humans on the planet," Newcomb said.

Newcomb and his colleagues were careful to control for any olfactory "noise in the system" caused by mood, pregnancy or time of day.

Pregnancy can cause hypersensitivity to the point of disgust, and some believe overwhelming odors can even explain morning sickness. Being in a bad mood dulls our sense of smell for reasons unknown, he said, so data from gloomy subjects were left out. Even time of day has an effect; our nose works best before lunchtime, probably ramping up because of hunger.

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