(HealthDay) Genetic differences appear to explain why some people can smell certain odors and others can’t, researchers say.

Using 10 different odors, the researchers tested nearly 200 people for their smell sensitivity and then analyzed the participants’ DNA. For four of the odors tested, there was a link between smell sensitivity and certain genetic variants.

The four odors are malt, apple, blue cheese and violets, according to the findings, published online Aug. 1 in the journal Current Biology.

“We were surprised how many odors had genes associated with them. If this extends to other odors, then we might expect everyone to have their own unique set of smells that they are sensitive to,” research team co-leader Jeremy McRae, of Plant and Food Research in New Zealand, said in a journal news release.

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