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So why do some people gag at the taste, while others view them as a mouth-watering delicacy?

Do you LOATHE brussels sprouts? It turns out it could all be down to your genes

Although they are a member of the cabbage family, sprouts are just that — edible buds that grow on the thick stalk of the plant, between the stems. For some people, that bitter taste is enough to make them wince. Sprouts have a high level of sulphur-containing plant compounds called glucosinolates, which are also found in other bitter vegetables such as horseradish and mustard greens.

Evolution Is Only A Theory

Some love them but, for others, they taste unpalatably sour — and this is down to genetic variations that influence how flavours are registered by our taste buds. When it comes to taste, a quarter of us have a variation of a gene — known as TAS2R38 — that means we can identify bitter toxic plant compounds far more acutely.


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Scientists say some people can even taste the bitter flavours about 60 times more strongly. This gene mutation probably developed to help our ancestors avoid poisonous plants when they went foraging for foods. If you hate Brussels sprouts, think of it as a superpower which evolved to protect you. Women are more likely to hate sprouts because they have more sensitive taste buds than men. They found that the Brussels sprout-hating women had the most extreme negative response to sugary foods.

But changes in the way we taste as we age means you will find them more palatable in later life. We start off with about 10, taste buds, but over time, that number gradually drops. According to one study on women aged 21 to 84, by the University of Michigan, older women are more likely to prefer green vegetables and less likely to crave sweet foods.

To make sprouts more palatable, the easiest way is to add ingredients that will balance the bitter taste. Food scientist Barb Stuckey, author of Taste: Adding something a little sweet may be worth it to encourage you to eat more sprouts — because the combination of complex plant compounds are believed to be effective at warding off cancer. Often, sprouts are maligned because they are simply not cooked correctly, adds Barb. Meanwhile, TV chef Nigella Lawson recommends tossing halved sprouts into a cheesy wholewheat pasta bake or shredding them and stir-frying with rice and oriental flavours.

You can buy a host of Brussels sprout gadgets. Use it to core sprouts for steaming or roasting, or twist further to free the leaves for salads and stir fries. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Share this article Share. Share or comment on this article: Most watched News videos Meghan Markle's mother Doria Ragland catches flight from LAX Muslim group posts video promoting FGM on young girls Precious Adams shows off her impressive stretching regime Emotional moment Meghan Markle is reunited with her wedding dress Man charged with his wife's cold case murder after four decades Great-grandmother fatally shoots foot alligator on her ranch Anorexic woman weighs less than 3 stone and is mocked by doctors Great white shark comes out of the water to steal fisherman's catch Heartwarming moment dog 'thanks' rescuer after Hurricane Florence Sobbing vegan breaks into slaughterhouse and chains herself in Working parent Zara Tindall is iCandy's new ambassador It'll Be Alright On The Night host Denis Norden dies aged The liberties of a spot equals 3 minus the number of lines drawn from that spot.

How did you explain the winning tactics? In discussing this game, several enthusists have found it helpful to adopt a form of notation to communicate their ideas and strategies. We often use notation to explain our ideas in mathematics, and you might find it interesting to learn a little about Conway notation, the official notation of the WGOSA The World Game of Sprouts Association.

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It began to evolve in in a discussion on the mathforum website. The strategy becomes more complex as you increase the number of spots, although WGOSA suggests that live spots at the end of the game are the key to making the game fun to play. A "live" spot is a spot that is not "dead".

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A "dead" spot has 3 lines attached to it and is therefore out of the game. These live spots at game's end are called "survivors". Suppose a normal sprouts game begins with an even number of spots. Which player is likely to win and what can you say about the number of survivors 1? If the game started with an odd number of spots what would you expect to happen and what could you say about the number of survivors 2?


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  5. There is quite a lot of nice mathematics that can be gleaned from the game. What follows is a look at a few proofs. Stephan Duerr has summarised some of these, and added his own at the web site given below. Enthusiasts have come up with a terminology that is useful to the proofs. These are all given below:. A "guard" is a dead spot that is one of the two nearest neighbours of a survivor see more details below. A "region" is an area of white space on the paper bounded by lines.

    The region extending off to the horizon is called "outer region", all other regions are "inner regions". At game's start, there is one region. A "cluster" or "clump" consists of all spots that are directly or indirectly connected by lines. An "indirect" connection means that there are other spots along the connection. The smallest possible cluster consists of just one unattached spot.

    The Evolution of Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts by Annicka Konz on Prezi

    At the beginning of a game with n spots there are n clusters. The lines emerging from a spot divide the area around the spot into "sites". Present to your audience. Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article. Please log in to add your comment. See more popular or the latest prezis.

    Do you LOATHE brussels sprouts? It turns out it could all be down to your genes

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