The genetics of human taste preference at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Position: This is a project proposal for a student opportunity at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR).

Background: In 2017, 451 million people were estimated to be affected by diabetes worldwide and the number continuously rises. The majority of patients suffer from type 2 diabetes caused by an interplay between genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle, and an unhealthy energy-dense diet. Dietary choices and behaviour associated with food intake are influenced by factors such as geographical region, social setting and taste preference referring to the choice between two or more alternatives. Investigation of the genetics potentially driving taste preference will add to the knowledge of dietary behaviour and aid in future designs of dietary guidelines that are manageable thus increasing compliance levels and positive outcomes for individuals at risk of developing diabetes.

The project: In this project, we will examine the genetic aspect of taste preference to improve our understanding of dietary habits and the effects of overconsumption on health status. The aim of the project is to survey taste preference in a large cohort using a validated food preference questionnaire. Next, results will be compared with existing genotypic data from the same individuals in a genome-wide association analysis. The project will provide training in how to handle large data sets as well as genetic statistical analysis using software such as SNPTEST and PLINK.

The student: We are looking for skilled bachelor or Master’s students, who are enthusiastic about research, and have the ability to quickly learn and work independently with data analyses.

Contact: Please contact Associate Professor Niels Grarup ( if you would like to know more about the project.

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