UK scientists investigate the science of sprouts

As reported by The Telegraph, young scientists in the UK are investigating why it is that some people hate the taste of the Christmas dinner staple, the Brussels sprout.

Budding scientists at Cornwell’s Eden Project will be testing their DNA to find out whether or not they have a genetic variation of a certain gene which makes a chemical within Brussels sprouts taste particularly bitter.  Luckily for them, those who don’t have this mutation (it is thought that this is about half the world’s population) don’t taste the bitterness at all, meaning they can take full advantage of the nutritional goodness of the good old sprout.

This national programme is being run for the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ADC) and is supported by the Wellcome Trust. The project aims to give young scientists some hands-on experience of working with DNA.

Talking of the programme, John Ellison, head of education strategy at Eden Project, said: “These workshops use Brussels sprouts and our own DNA to show how humans and plants have evolved together.

“The Eden Project provides the context to connect molecular biology with rainforest research into the plant diversity which is vital for future survival.”

Enjoy your sprouts and Merry Christmas!

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