23andMe can reveal some pretty fascinating facts about your heritage, but apparently, it can uncover something even more important — whether you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream. On June 28, 23andMe released a new report that used data from over 980,000 research participants, estimating your likelihood of preferring either chocolate or vanilla ice cream. The research identified 739 genetic markers associated with preferring one ice cream to another, then synthesized that information with non-genetic factors to create a predictive model for ice cream flavors.
The list of factors is quite long, but it seems like smell plays a major role. According to the study, many of the genetic variants were found “in or near olfactory receptor genes, like OR10A6 or OR5M8, which contain instructions for proteins that help detect odors.” The study also found that 56% of women prefer chocolate while men are nearly evenly split on the issue — 51% of men prefer vanilla while 49% crave chocolate.
The same theory can also determine whether you’re genetically predisposed to like or dislike certain other foods, such as the ultra-divisive herb cilantro.
There are, of course, several external and non-genetic factors that contribute to your favorite ice cream flavor, like your culture and environment. But as 23andMe says, genetics is simply the “cherry on top.”