Fish Odor Syndrome

Gene Test Offers Whiff of Hope By Ari Daniel Shapiro ⋅ March 28, 2012

Excerpt: “TMAU is a disorder in which people are unable to complete the metabolism of a small molecule called trimethylamine,” says one of the scientists, Elizabeth Shephard of University College London. “That small molecule is derived from the ordinary foodstuffs that we eat such as eggs, soya, meat.”

In most people, an enzyme breaks down trimethylamine in the liver, but people with TMAU excrete the molecule in their urine, breath, and sweat.

And that molecule – trimethylamine – is what gives rotting fish its distinctive odor. In fact, TMAU is sometimes called fish odor syndrome.

TMAU can be triggered by liver or kidney disease, but it can also be hereditary – caused by the gene Shephard co-discovered – although the symptoms may not appear until adulthood. The genetic form of the condition is rare, affecting perhaps one in 40,000 people.


Genetically predisposed production of body odor that is epigenetically effected by nutrient chemicals that enable pheromone-controlled nutrient-dependent reproduction is the central feature of my model for non-random adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction. Although the honeybee model organism is also central to this model, there is a recently released report that also helps extend the model, by way of the honeybee, to mammals. I will elaborate on the latest report to incorporate a mammalian model in my next publication.

About James V. Kohl 1308 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society