Thursday, May 6, 2010

Asparagus plus the wild question of the day

Family Asparagaceae, Asparagus officinalis

Here's my wild question of the day, a question for which I have no answer, sorry: Why does only 22% of the population possess the genes to smell that distinctively odorous pee that you get from eating asparagus? I swear upon my wiki source for the asparagus factoid. Just be sure to disseminate this gem NOT at the dinner table.

So why do you think it's 22 not closer to 100? Do you think this maybe something slowing evolving out of the population because it has little relevance to our survival? Does the ability to smell it has any relevance to survival? Oh, the questions that clutter my brain today.

China and Israel published results showing that producing odorous urine from asparagus was a universal human characteristic. The Israeli study found that from their 307 subjects all of those who could smell 'asparagus urine' could detect it in the urine of anyone who had eaten asparagus, even if the person who produced it could not detect it himself.[26] Thus, it is now believed that most people produce the odorous compounds after eating asparagus, but only about 22% of the population have the autosomal genes required to smell them.[27][28][29]

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