Allelic Variation in Taste Genes Is Associated with Taste and Diet Preferences and Dental Caries

Nutrients. 2019 Jun 29;11(7):1491. doi: 10.3390/nu11071491.


Taste and diet preferences are complex and influenced by both environmental and host traits while affecting both food selection and associated health outcomes. The present study genotyped 94 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in previously reported taste and food intake related genes and assessed associations with taste threshold (TT) and preferred intensity (PT) of sweet, sour and bitter, food preferences, habitual diet intake, and caries status in healthy young Swedish men and women (n = 127). Polymorphisms in the GNAT3, SLC2A4, TAS1R1 and TAS1R2 genes were associated with variation in TT and PT for sweet taste as well as sweet food intake. Increasing PT for sweet was associated with increasing preference and intake of sugary foods. Similarly, increasing TT for sour was associated with increasing intake of sour foods, whereas the associations between food preference/intake and TT/PT for bitter was weak in this study group. Finally, allelic variation in the GNAT3, SLC2A2, SLC2A4, TAS1R1 and TAS1R2 genes was associated with caries status, whereas TT, PT and food preferences were not. It was concluded that variations in taste receptor, glucose transporter and gustducin encoding genes are related to taste perception, food preference and intake as well as the sugar-dependent caries disease.

Keywords: caries; diet preference; diet selection; taste genes; taste perception; taste preference.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis
  • Dental Caries / genetics*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Glucose Transporter Type 2 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden
  • Taste / genetics*
  • Taste Perception / genetics*
  • Transducin / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Glucose Transporter Type 2
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • SLC2A2 protein, human
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • taste receptors, type 1
  • gustducin
  • Transducin