Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pointless Science #1: Discovery of the Earwax Gene

Yes - have faith in the world’s scientists; for they are tirelessly making our world a better place.

(And by the way, make sure you’ve eaten your meals before you read this…)

An international team of researchers has discovered that the consistency of your earwax – i.e. if its either wet or dry – is determined by a mutation in a single gene.

By studying the genes of people from 33 populations around the world, they have also found that ethnicity affects which form of the gene people have, and therefore their earwax type. Apparently you out there who are afflicted by particularly bountiful harvests of earwax will be happy to know that there is a possibility that earwax type could be linked to attractiveness, due to a link with body odour glands.

Dry earwax is seen in up to 95% of East Asians, but no more than 3% of people of European and African origin.
In both Europeans and Africans, the wet type completely dominates.

The link with attractiveness was suggested because studies on animals such as chimpanzees, orang-utans, dogs and mice have shown secretory products like body odour, are produced by different glands from the same family as those which produce earwax.

And that’s not all folks - armpit odour has also been linked to wet-type earwax.

So now the world is a better place, thanks to this groundbreaking research. Sleep easy folks, the earwax gene is no longer a mystery to science.

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