A Lucky 2% of People Have a Gene for Stink-Free Armpits

It’s conventional wisdom that 3 things in life are inevitable: death, taxes, and smelly armpits. It turns out that the third trouble on that list only afflicts 98% of people. That’s because the other 2% happen to carry a rare version of the gene ABCC11 that prevents their armpits from producing an offensive odor. Researchers have known that this gene exists for some time, though most work on it has focused on its connection to earwax. People with the rare gene variant are also more likely to have dry earwax, as opposed to wet earwax. It has also been discovered that the non-stinky gene is more common in East Asian populations. Researchers still aren’t sure how the gene affects both earwax and sweat odor, but they believe it has to do with amino acid production. Rapidly growing bacteria give sweat its smelliness, and people with the rare gene variant appear to produce less of an animo acid that engenders bacteria growth. What’s odd is that people with the anti-stink gene still apply deodorant every day, a trend that researchers chalk up to cultural norms.