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A substance that tastes bitter to some people but is tasteless to others. The ability to taste it is thought to be an autosomal dominant trait. Phenylthiourea contains the N-C=S group on which the taste peculiarity apparently depends; goitrogenic or antithyroid substances (for example, thiourea and thiouracil), which also contain this group, possess the same property with respect to taste. See: taste deficiency.
Synonym(s): phenylthiocarbamide
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(fĕn′əl-thī′ō-kär′bə-mīd′, -kär-băm′īd, fē′nəl-)
n. Abbr. PTC
A crystalline compound, C7H8N2S, that tastes intensely bitter to people with a specific dominant gene and is used to test for the presence of the gene. Also called phenylthiourea.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.




A chemical used in studying medical genetics to detect the presence of a marker gene. About 70% of the population inherit the ability to note the taste of phenylthiocarbamide to be extremely bitter. To the remainder of the population, it is tasteless. The gene for tasting is dominant and is expressed in both homozygous and heterozygous individuals.
Synonym: phenylthiourea
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Some human beings are taste blind to phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and to 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP).
For decades, taste researchers have used a chemical called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) to assay a person's capability to sense a bitter taste.
The first clue that humans differ in taste sensations was discovered more than 65 years ago as the result of a laboratory accident, when dust from a newly synthesized chemical compound, PTC (phenylthiocarbamide, a.k.a.
According to spokesman for the Eden Project, the vegetables contain a bitter chemical similar to PTC (Phenylthiocarbamide) which tastes bitter to people that have a variation of a certain gene.
Genetic material sequenced by Italian researchers from the bones of an ancient ancestor who lived 48,000 years ago showed the individual had a gene that caused him or her to shun bitter foods - more precisely foods containing phenylthiocarbamide (PTC).