You can tell if you’re gay or straight by looking at your earwax, scientists have claimed.
Researchers at the Monell Center believe the substance is an untapped source of information about a person’s identity.
They say new tests could be developed to prove identification, like similar tests that have been done with odors from people’s armpits.
‘Our previous research has shown that underarm odors can convey a great deal of information about an individual, including personal identity, gender, sexual orientation, and health status,’ said study senior author George Preti, PhD, an organic chemist at Monell.
‘We think it possible that earwax may contain similar information.’
The team used analytical organic chemistry to identify the presence of odor-producing chemical compounds in human earwax.
Scientifically known as cerumen, the researchers collected the substance from 16 healthy men: eight Caucasion and eight of East Asian descent.
After the samples were gently heated for 30 minutes, the odors were released and the scientists analysed the chemical compounds.
‘While the types of odorants were similar, the amounts were very different,’ said study lead author Katharine Prokop-Prigge, a Monell chemist.
‘Earwax is a neglected body secretion whose potential as an information source has yet to be explored.’
The rest, they believe, is determined by environmental factors such as a mother’s hormonal levels during pregnancy.
‘Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice,’ researcher Professor Michael Bailey said.