Smell Ability Linked With Genes, Study Finds

08/05/2013 08:58 am ET

Do you love that new car smell, while your best friend finds it revolting? It could be because of your genes.

Two new studies published in the journal Current Biology suggest that there are genetic reasons for why some people have sensitivities to certain smells while others don't, as well as for why some people are able to smell certain scents better than others.

Researchers from Plant and Food Research in New Zealand conducted their research on 10 odors in particular, and found genetic associations for the ability to smell four: apple, blue cheese, malt and a floral scent (common in violets).

"We were surprised how many odors had genes associated with them. If this extends to other odors, then we might expect everyone to have their own unique set of smells that they are sensitive to," study researcher Jeremy McRae said in a statement.

Plus, researchers didn't find associations between ability to smell these odors and regional locations -- meaning someone in one part of the world would be able to smell a certain scent just as well as someone in another part of the world.

On a similar note, a recent study from Dutch researchers found that it's possible to "smell" emotions. Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study showed that these "chemosignals" are able to be smelled and can in turn elicit an emotional response.

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