Distribution and frequency of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) taster and non taster alleles in the Nigerian population
There is limited information on population genetics of the Nigerian population as regards taste perception. This study investigated the distribution and frequency of taster (T) and non-taster (t) alleles in the Nigerian population using phenylthiocarbamide [(PTC), % composition = 30 mcg/strip] taste strips. Overall, a total of 6167 (3799 males and 2368 females) Nigerians from all the states of the geopolitical zones were used for this study. The frequency of non tasters was 22.60% and the t allele frequency was 0.48; while the frequency of tasters was observed to be 77.40% and the T allele frequency was 0.52. There were observable but statistically insignificant (p<0.05) differences in the PTC taste sensitivity among the geopolitical zones and according to sex. Generally there were more female than male tasters. The ability to taste PTC among Nigerians was found to be bimodal. Data obtained on subjects from Northern Nigeria is new and together with those of other zones in the country differ from previously published estimates for the Nigerian population. Our finding shows that the Nigerian population varies genetically with respect to PTC taste sensitivity, and this could be indicative of possible heterogeneity in the origin of the Nigerians.
Key words: Gene frequency, phenylthiocarbamide, taste sensitivity, geographical zone, Nigerian population, genetic variation.