Accepted paper:

Intra-species difference in the taste receptors of primates

Authors:

Hiroo Imai (Primate Research Institute)

Paper short abstract:

Taste allows mammals to evaluate their foods and determine which foods they can ingest. There are some reports on the individual and regional differences in the food items of non-human primates. We found the genetic differences in the taste receptors of primates, which are specific for local area and might affect the feeding behaviors of primates.

Paper long abstract:

Taste allows mammals to evaluate their foods and determine which foods they can ingest. There are some reports on the individual and regional differences in the food items of non-human primates as well as human. We hypothesized that the genetic difference in the taste receptor is one of the determinants of the local differences in behavior and feeding ecology. In case of human, genetic differences were reported for some of bitter taste receptors, TAS2R. For example, mutation of TAS2R38 is responsible for the individual difference in the bitter taste sensitivity of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). We found the intra-and inter-species genetic differences in the taste receptors of non-human primates. In case of macaques, mutation of TAS2R38 was found to be limited to the specific region in Japan (1). In case of chimpanzees, mutation of TAS2R38 was found to be limited to the western chimpanzees (2, 3). These mutations occurred independently and might affect the feeding behaviors of primates. 1. N. Suzuki, T. Sugawara, A. Matsui, Y. Go, H. Hirai, and H. Imai Identification of non-taster Japanese macaques for a specific bitter taste. Primates 51, 285-289 (2010). 2. T. Sugawara, Y. Go, T. Udono, N. Morimura, M. Tomonaga, H. Hirai, and H. Imai. Diversification of bitter taste receptor gene family in western chimpanzees. Mol. Biol. Evol. 28, 921-931 (2011). 3. T. Hayakawa, T. Sugawara, Y. Go, T. Udono, H. Hirai, H. Imai. Eco-geographical diversification of bitter taste receptor genes (TAS2Rs) among subspecies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). PLOS ONE 7, e43277 (2012).

panel P146
Local differences in ecology and behavior of non-human primates: genetic variation or culture? (PSJ panel)