Skepticism, Medicine and Science News


Scientists have known for a while that some mammals have genetically determined body odors, called  odortypes, and that the genes that encode the major histocompatability complex (MHC) also play a role for determining this odortype. Recently, a study showed that a persons characteristic odortype remains detectable even after major dietary changes, which means that this could possibly result in a new way of identify people in addition to fingerprints, DNA etc. Body odors are transmitted through the body fluids, which contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that smell. Changing your diet can change the composition of VOCs in the fluids, thus changing your body odor. The researchers proved that, at least in mice, the “baseline” body odor remained detectable, even after similar attempts of masking it with dietary changes. If specific diseases are shown to change body odor, a novel way of detecting these could also be a possible application of this research.


The full paper can be found here.


November 4, 2008 - Posted by | Chemistry, Medicine | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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