Will Teach Them To The Bitter End

| Learning | April 15, 2017

(Our biology lab is discussing traits specific to certain genes. One such trait is the ability to taste phenylthiocarbamide, or PTC, which is harmless, extremely bitter chemical – but only to people with a specific genetic makeup.)

Professor: “All of you take one of these strips of paper. It’s covered with PTC, which will be horribly bitter to some of you but tasteless to others.”

Student #1: “How will we know if we can taste it? What if we aren’t sure?”

Professor: “It’s really bitter. You’ll know.”

Student #1: “But I mean, I drink black coffee. It might not affect me even if I have the right genes.”

Professor: “It’s nothing like coffee. You’ll know immediately if you’re tasting PTC or not.”

Student #1: “But how can we be SURE?”

Student #2: *has put the paper strip on his tongue* “OH, MY GOD! OH, MY GOD! EW, EW, EW!” *spits in sink, rinses mouth* “HOLY CRAP, that was DISGUSTING!” *gagging, spitting*

Professor: “Seriously. You’ll know.”

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