Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Chemistry Dept.


Julie Millard

Second Advisor

Ron Peck


Polymorphisms in bitter-taste genes lead to bitter-taste receptor variants that modulate individual response to bitter ligands that are found in food and beverages, including beer. Several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated with the perception of bitter compounds, such as phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and caffeine. The goal of this project was to investigate the influence of four SNPs located within bitter-taste receptor genes on the food and drink preferences of 26 individuals. Genotyping at rs10772420G>C, rs2597979G>C, rs713598C>G, and rs10246939T>C was performed using real-time PCR. Food preferences and bitter-taste sensitivities were determined using food and drink surveys, taste papers, and beer tasting. Our findings demonstrate that bitter-taste perception of and individual preferences for certain foods and drinks, including beer, are interconnected, and may be well informed by assessing individual genotypes at SNPs of related bitter-taste genes. Our findings suggest that these four SNPs may interact to influence food, drink, and beer preferences.


Bitter Taste, Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms, Genotyping, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Food Preferences, Phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), International Bitterness Units, Beer