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Food Trends

If you hate cilantro, blame it on your genes

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Cilantro is one of the most divisive herbs out there. (iStock)

Have you ever wondered why the refreshing, slightly peppery taste of cilantro can be more like a mouthful of soap to your dining partner?

People who claim they hate cilantro aren’t just being picky. Whether or not you like the herb comes down to genetics.

SciShow, a YouTube channel that answers a variety of life’s most puzzling mysteries through science, uncovers the truth behind this divisive green.

According to the segment, cilantro tastes soapy to between four to 14 percent of the world’s population.  

Over the past several years, scientists have conducted studies comparing both identical and fraternal twin tastes and determined that most cilantro haters are born with a group of olfactory-receptor genes, known as OR6A2, which pick up on the smell on aldehyde chemicals. Aldehydes are responsible for various fragrances including vanilla, cinnamon and they are found in both cilantro and soap --which have yet to be determined. 

But it's a bit more complex than that. Some study participants without the OR6A2 gene also reported saying that cilantro tasted soapy, leading researchers to believe there may be more complicated genetic factors at work.

In the meantime, if cilantro makes your food tastes like soap, you can rest easy knowing that it's genetics --not that someone didn't wash it correctly.  

And if you can't stand the taste, try using flat-leaf parsley.