Don't Like Cilantro? It Could Be Your Genes' Fault

Scientists have long suspected that some people's aversion to cilantro went beyond simple lack of cultural exposure. A series of studies confirms a possible genetic link.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

Do you like cilantro (or coriander, as it's called in the UK and this Nature article)? According to several studies, your answer may have less to do with your exposure to it and more to do with your genes. Researchers at a California-based consumer genetics firm asked two different sets of customers whether cilantro tasted like soap and whether they liked cilantro. Based on the responses, the team identified two genetic variants, the strongest-linked of which was found in nearly half of Europeans surveyed. Of those, just over 15 percent said cilantro tasted like soap. Another team of scientists linked cilantro distaste to several other genes, including one linked to bitter tastes.

What's the Big Idea?

According to another study published earlier this year, "21% of east Asians, 17% of people of European ancestry and 14% of people of African descent" dislike cilantro, while in cultures where the herb is more prominent -- south Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern -- only 3-7% of people disliked it. This shouldn't all be linked to genetics; the California team says it's possible that the ability to inherit a taste for cilantro is just low.

Photo Credit:

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Horseshoe crabs are drained for their blue blood. That practice will soon be over.

The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.

Credit: Business Insider (video)
Surprising Science
  • Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
  • This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
  • Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less