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Polygence Scholar2023
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Adithi Govindaraju

Class of 2024Grayslake, Illinois



  • "How do taste buds vary depending on age, sex, and environment and have an effect on sensory perception?" with mentor Megan (Oct. 13, 2023)

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How do taste buds vary depending on age, sex, and environment and have an effect on sensory perception?

Started Aug. 4, 2023

Abstract or project description

Taste perception is a complex process and is influenced by many factors, including genetics, sex, age, and experience. Sensory perception and taste preferences can dramatically change throughout an individual’s lifetime. The growth of taste buds begins at the prenatal stage of birth and continues into infancy. Anatomy of the tongue plays an important role in perception. The dorsum, which is the upper part of the tongue, holds fungiform and filiform papillae, which essentially allow humans to taste. Within the tongue, different regions aid for different purposes. For example, the greatest sensitivity to sweet is at the tip of the tongue, whereas the greatest sensitivity to sour is at the upper sides of the tongue. Eventually, babies begin to develop certain taste preferences and as they age, different genetic changes, such as alleles, can cause individuals to be more sensitive to some flavors over others. This contributes to the differences observed in infant versus adult sensory perception. Similarly, the sex of a person can drastically vary their ability to detect certain basic traits. Aside from biological factors including age and sex, environment plays a large role in the development of taste preferences and perception. This may consist of race, ethnicity, culture, and location. The simple topic of taste buds is actually a much more complex one and is important for humans to become more knowledgeable about something they use in their everyday life.