Charles Wysocki, a neuroscientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia has found evidence of the genetic basis of cilantro hate in his studies of twins. He says that 80% of identical twins share their preference for cilantro, while among fraternal twins the number is only 50%, indicating that there is some genetic basis for cilantro preference. Scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada have linked variants in genes for an olfactory receptor (those are the proteins on the surface of cells in your nose that let you detect scents) and a bitter taste receptor to cilantro preference. Additionally, researchers at the genetics company 23andMe found that dislike of cilantro was linked to a different olfactory receptor. All of these studies suggest that preference for cilantro may be genetic, and that the reason that some people dislike cilantro is because they perceive the taste of the herb differently. Still, differences in cilantro preference between even identical twins does indicate that there are some environmental factors that affect how much you enjoy the herb.
What does this mean for you? Well, it's more evidence that a person's genetic makeup affects the way that they perceive and interact with the world, including the things we eat. Right now, we have no way to affect a person's genes, so, at least for now, cilantro haters gonna hate.
(Image: cilantro, a Creative Commons 2.0 licensed image from looseends' photostream)