Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Two Unifactorial Characters for which Man is Polymorphic

Abstract

IT has been recognized for many years that humans excrete methanethiol (methyl mercaptan) after eating asparagus, and it has been assumed that this character is universal1,2. We have found, however, that while some subjects excrete detectable amounts of methanethiol after ingesting only three or four sticks of asparagus, no significant amount of the compound appears in the urine of others after ingestion of as much as a pound of asparagus. Biochemical investigations of this metabolic difference are being made in collaboration with Dr. P. W. Kent. Nencki's1 identification of the odorous substance in urine as methanethiol has been confirmed by isolation of the corresponding silver mercaptide.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Nencki, M., Arch. Exp. Path. und Pharm., 28, 206 (1891).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    West, E. J., and Todd, W. R., “Textbook of Biochemistry” (Macmillan, 1955).

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Pucher, G. W., Curtis, L. C., and Vickery, H. B., J. Biol. Chem., 123, 61 (1938).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Ford, E. B., Biol. Revs., 20, 73 (1945).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Allison, A. C., Cold Spring Harbor Symp. Quant. Biol. (in the press).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

ALLISON, A., McWHIRTER, K. Two Unifactorial Characters for which Man is Polymorphic. Nature 178, 748–749 (1956). https://doi.org/10.1038/178748c0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing