Have you ever noticed an unpleasant odor present in your urine after you eat asparagus? If so, you have a talent not shared by everyone. 

A new study from researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School found that a large proportion of individuals of European-American descent can't smell "asparagus pee," according to a statement. 

Read: Asparagus Makes Pee Smell Weird With Asparagusic Acid, Which Isn't Found Anywhere Else

Researchers examined data from 6,909 men and women of European-American descent who were participants in two long-term studies. Findings showed that 58 percent of men and 62 percent of women were unable to detect the “malodorous bouquet” in urine following a meal that included asparagus.

The team at Harvard also looked at a study measuring participants’ nine million inherited genetic variants, called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). They found that 871 of the variations were associated with the inability to smell asparagus pee, which could aid future research directions and potentially reveal how genetics determine a person's overall sense of smell.

"Outstanding questions on this topic remain," said senior author Lorelei Mucci, according to the statement. "First and foremost perhaps is: why such a delicious delicacy as asparagus results in such a pernicious odor, and what are the selective pressures driving genetic variations that lead to asparagus anosmia?"

Read: Asparagus May Block Hangovers: Study

Eating asparagus has many health benefits — including a reduced risk of cancer, cognitive impairment, and cardiovascular-related diseases.

The spring vegetable contains asparagusic acid, a chemical that’s not found anywhere else — at least not that we know of. When asparagusic acid is digested, it produces compounds like methanethiol, dimethyl sulfide, and dimethyl sulfone. Medical Daily previously reported that sulfur is known to contribute to skunk and rotten egg smells with its putrid odor.

Source: Markt SC, Nuttall E, Turman C, Sinnott J, Rimm EB, Ecsedy E, Unger RH, et al. Sniffing out significant 'Pee-values': genome wide association study of asparagus anosmia. BMJ. 2016.

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