Why perfume smells different for each of us

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REUTERS

The human nose contains 400 different olfactory receptors and Dr Mainlands team found that changing just one of these could dramatically affect the way a person perceives a smell.

London -If you have ever upset your partner by telling them you hate their favourite perfume, you may finally have the perfect excuse.

The fact that you are perceiving their idea of the scent of heaven as a noxious vapour could be down to the cells in your nose.

American scientists have discovered that we all experience odours in a different way, with 30 percent of smell receptors differing between any two people.

Joel Mainland, a molecular biologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, said: “For different items, there is a big gap between what you smell and what I smell.

“The amount of variation was really surprising to us.”

The human nose contains 400 different olfactory receptors and Dr Mainland’s team found that changing just one of these could dramatically affect the way a person perceives a smell.

Dr Mainland said: “The activation pattern of these 400 receptors encodes both the intensity of an odour and the quality – for example, whether it smells like vanilla or smoke – for the tens of thousands of different odours that represent everything we smell.”

The study of receptors embedded in host cells in the laboratory, which is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could eventually help scientists to “create any odour we want by manipulating the receptors directly”. - Daily Mail

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