Let's talk about Cilantro Taste Aversion

Disliking cilantro is more than just a taste preference. It turns out genetics may be involved.


What is cilantro taste aversion?

Many people dislike cilantro (also known as coriander), describing the taste as “soapy.” 23andMe researchers found two genetic markers associated with this aversion. These markers are located near genes that help determine your sense of smell through proteins called olfactory receptors. Some of these receptors detect aldehydes, chemical compounds that are found in soap and thought to be a major component of cilantro aroma.

What can make cilantro taste soapy?

There are two types of aldehydes thought to be responsible for cilantro aroma: one is described as smelling “fruity” and the other as “soapy.” Depending on genetic differences in olfactory receptors that detect these aldehydes, there may be differences in how people perceive tastes and smells.

Genetic markers for cilantro taste aversion.

Some genetic variants are associated with higher odds of disliking cilantro. Since genetics is only part of the picture, you may still like cilantro. Overall, just 13% of 23andMe consented research participants think cilantro tastes “soapy.”

rs2741762 affects cilantro preference. rs3930459 affects cilantro preference. These are shown located near 56 olfactory receptor genes on a chromosome.

Explore more

Genetic markers can reveal a lot about how your senses may perceive different flavours. 23andMe’s DNA kits can tell you more about what your genetics may say about your odds of disliking cilantro with the 23andMe Cilantro Taste Aversion Trait report.

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References

Eriksson et al. (2012). “A genetic variant near olfactory receptor genes influences cilantro preference.” Flavour. 1:22.

23andMe. (2015). “White paper 23‐08: Genetic Associations with Traits in 23andMe Customers.”