BOB HIRSHON (host):
Genetically bad breath. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Bad breath, or halitosis, can usually be cured by avoiding certain foods, or with improved dental hygiene. But Radboud University geneticist Ron Wevers in the Netherlands studies a genetic condition that gives people fishy breath. He says a protein in the blood that normally breaks down sulfur compounds is defective in these people.
RON WEVERS (Radboud University):
And the protein cannot get rid of these sulfur compounds anymore. And therefore they keep circulating and reach the lungs, and they escape from the blood and get into the air that you breathe out.
He and his colleagues report in the journal Nature Genetics that they’ve isolated a gene in lab mice that replicates the problem. Studying it could not only help people with this condition, but could advance cancer research, too, because the bad breath gene is also involved in tumor growth. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.
Story by Bob Hirshon