03/07/2013 07:39 BST | Updated 03/07/2013 07:43 BST

Your Testicles Have Taste Receptors - But You Won't Be Using Them To Distinguish Between Fine Wines


If you're looking for a nickname for your scrotum, one suggestion could be 'tasticles' after an extraordinary research paper was published revealing that testicles have taste receptors.

No, it's not a load of balls - these are the receptors - made from protein - that can be found in your mouth, except these can only detect sweet and umami flavours (the amino acid for soy sauce).

Your testicles don't have the monopoly on taste receptors however, as researchers have found them all over the body, including the stomach, pancreas and anus.


But don't go sticking a gummy bear down there just yet - taste receptors may play and important part in fertility. In the paper published in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences, when the same taste receptors found in mice were removed, they were unable to reproduce. Geekosystem reported that this happened completely by accident - researchers were testing mice for taste-related research and had given them drugs to inhibit the taste receptors in their bodies.

Robert Margolskee, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center and one of the researchers on the study, explains: “We now need to identify the pathways and mechanisms in testes that utilise these taste genes so we can understand how their loss leads to infertility.”