Objectives: Bitter taste perception affects food preference, eating behavior, and nutrient intake. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of bitter taste gene polymorphisms to body fatness as measured by percentage of body fat.

Method: Three common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the TAS2R38 gene which result in amino acid changes in the protein (A49P, V262A, and I296V), were studied in three racially diverse groups: European Americans n=313, African Americans n=109, and Asians n=234.

Results: The allele frequencies of the three SNPs were similar to previous studies. The rare haplotypes, AAI and AAV, were found in high prevalence in the African American subgroup (22.94%) and European American subgroup (6.07%). The PROP non taster; AVI/AVI diplotype was associated with a higher risk of obesity in European American and Asian but not African American subjects after age adjustment.

Conclusions: TAS2R38 polymorphisms could be associated with obesity development. In addition to taste perception, nutrient sensing and energy metabolism should be studied in relation to bitter taste receptors to confirm the association between genetic polymorphisms and body fatness. Genetic polymorphisms, race, gender, and environmental factors such as dietary patterns could all contribute to body fat.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.