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NEW YORK – How unpleasant people find the smell of fish may be influenced by an olfactory receptor gene variant they carry, a new genome-wide association study has found.

While there are more than 850 olfactory genes in the human genome, about half are thought to be nonfunctional due to a shrinking in the number of olfactory receptors in the primate and human lineages. However, there has also been an increase in sequence diversity among the remaining OR genes, suggesting a personalized suite of variants affects what people can smell and the intensity of those odors.

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