[2014] hajakamara (BIOTECH FALL 2014): TMAU (Fish Odor Syndrome)

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by raptorkerry
Last updated 5 years ago

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[2014] hajakamara (BIOTECH FALL 2014): TMAU (Fish Odor Syndrome)

Facts about TMAU: TMAU is quite uncommon and scientists do not know exactly how often it occurs in the population but they have noticed that it is more common in women than men and think that there is a link between the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and this conditon.

What is TMAU? Trimethylaminuria, also known as TMAU or Fish Odor Syndrome, is a condition where individuals cannot convert trimethylamine, which smells like fish, into trimethylamine N-oxide, which doesn't smell like anything.

TMAU (Fish Odor Syndrome)

Symptoms of TMAU: The major symptom of this disease is giving off a fishy smell from your sweat, urine, or breath. Other symptoms are increased heartbeat and blood presure. Due to the reactions of others, some people with this condition develop depression

Tests and Treatments: To find out if someone has TMAU, a doctor will usually give the patient a urine test to test for high levels of trimethylamine. Individuals with this condition can live healthy lives but usually have to change their diet, cutting out eggs, fish, and other products with high levels of trimethylamine.

What causes this condition? People with this condition have a mutated FMO3 gene which codes for the production of the FMO3 enzyme by the liver. The condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive way so an individual with the condition has to have two mutated alleles to have the condition and both of their parents must be carriers.

Information about the FMO3 gene: It is 26,942 base pairs in length. Elizabeth Shephard and Ian Phillips co-discovered this gene. The gene has been sequenced and scientists have discovered over 25 mutations in people who have TMAU

Facts (cont.): This condition has existed for a long time, but the first case was reported in 1970. Though scientists are not sure how many people actually have the condition, studies have shown that 0.5-1.0% of white British people are carriers of the gene that causes the condition but that number is higher in other ethnicities.

Interesting Facts About TMAU: Shakespeare may have alluded to fish odor syndrome in The Tempest in his description of Caliban.TMAU is now classified as uncommon rather than rare because there are more than 200 cases of people with this condition.

More about what causes TMAU: Most mutations of the FMO3 gene cause the production of FMO3 enzyme that is nonfunctional. Other types of mutations change the amino acids needed to create the enzyme, rendering it nonfunctional.

A clip from a BBC show episode about TMAU

Ian Phillips and Elizabeth Shephard, discoverers of the FMO3 gene.


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