Letter | Published:

Taste of Thiouracil and Phenylthiocarbamide

Nature volume 154, page 669 (25 November 1944) | Download Citation



TWELVE years ago, Fox1 discovered a curious property of phenylthiocarbamide. He was putting some of the substance into a bottle when a colleague complained of the extremely bitter taste, which Fox himself was unable to confirm. The question was investigated by Blakeslee2, who found that a sample of the American population contained 40 per cent of individuals who were non-tasters. Furthermore, it was found that if two non-tasters married, their children were also non-tasters. The ability to taste (T) is dominant to non-tasting (t), so that parents having the constitution Tt may have non-tasting children; but if one of them is homozygous, Tt, then all the children will be tasters of phenylthiocarbamide. The test has been used as a genetic marker in the investigation of human pedigrees3,4,5.

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    , Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 18, 115 (1932).

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    , Proc. U.S. Nat. Acad. Sci., 18, 120 (1932).

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    , and , Ann. Eugenics, 8, 46 (1937).

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    , Trans. Ophth. Soc., 59, 275 (1939).

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    , Ann. Eugenics, 10, 1 (1940).

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  1. Department of Ophthalmology, University of Glasgow. Oct. 17.

    • W. J. B. RIDDELL
    •  & K. C. WYBAR


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