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Cook GR, Krithika S, Edwards M, Kavanagh P, Parra EJ.2014. Quantitative measurement of odor detection thresholds using an air dilution olfactometer, and association with genetic variants in a sample of diverse ancestry. PeerJ PrePrints2:e529v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.529v1
Genetic association studies require a quantitative and reliable method for odor threshold assessment in order to examine the contribution of genetic variants to complex olfactory phenotypes. Our main goal was to assess the feasibility of a portable Scentroid air dilution olfactometer for use in such studies. Using the Scentroid SM110C and the SK5 n-butanol Sensitivity Kit (IDES Canada Inc.), n-butanol odor thresholds were determined for 182 individuals of diverse ancestry (mean age: 20.4 ± 2.5 years; n = 128 female; n = 54 male). Threshold scores from repeat participants were used to calculate a test-retest reliability coefficient, which was statistically significant (r = 0.754, p < 0.001, n = 29), indicating that the Scentroid provides reliable estimates of odor thresholds. In addition, we performed a preliminary genetic analysis evaluating the potential association of n-butanol odor thresholds to six single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) putatively involved in general olfactory sensitivity (GOS). The results of multiple linear regression analysis revealed no significant association between the SNPs tested and threshold scores. However, our sample size was relatively small, and our study was only powered to identify genetic markers with strong effects on olfactory sensitivity. Overall, we find that the Scentroid provides reliable quantitative measures of odor detection threshold and is well suited for genetic studies of olfactory sensitivity.
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