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News From the Field
Penn team elucidates evolution of bitter taste sensitivity

November 11, 2013

Yaaku people perform a taste test People often have strong negative reactions to bitter substances, which, though found in healthful foods like vegetables, can also signify toxicity. For this reason, the ability to sense bitterness likely played an important role in human evolution. A new study by University of Pennsylvania scientists suggests that a genetic mutation that makes certain people sensitive to the taste of a bitter compound appears to have been advantageous for certain human populations in Africa. Full Story

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University of Pennsylvania

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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