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(Globe and Mail)   Maybe nobody exactly planned it, but it turns out one of the benefits of decoding the human genome is being able to identify what type of ear wax you produce   (theglobeandmail.com) divider line 63
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7325 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Sep 2007 at 10:24 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-09-04 10:28:08 AM  
In other news, there's more than one type of ear wax.
 
2007-09-04 10:29:27 AM  
Hypersapien: In other news, there's more than one type of ear wax.

Just as there is more than one type of eargasm.

I'm a q-tip gal myself. Not sure how you key people do it without taking out brain cells.
 
2007-09-04 10:33:03 AM  
I've heard it from numerous sources that asians produce entirely different forms of earwax. Can anyone confirm/disconfirm this?

/lazy
 
2007-09-04 10:33:20 AM  
On the one hand I agree with some of the early criticism about these personal genome projects. Of course Venter would be the first. Watson is also having his genome done with the only request being that they not publish the results for any of the genes related to Alzheimers. (Understandable). The criticism is that these early first genome projects are pretty much all being done on famous scientists. I do still think it is very cool, and hopefully this is going to drive the technology to make this process cheaper in general.

We do need to make sure that as part of this process we start collecting data from a broad distribution of people in general. Thats when we will start learning how much variation genetically we have as a species. The post-genomics era is shaping up to be very interesting. Much more interesting than the original human genome project. Plus we are sequencing more and more general genomes for a ton of organisms every day. We are learning a lot. It is great!
 
2007-09-04 10:38:38 AM  
Yeah, so maybe now we can cure aids?
 
2007-09-04 10:45:15 AM  
They all taste the same to me.
 
2007-09-04 10:45:16 AM  
I feel sorry for the scientists who discovered this. I can see them looking at a gene for months, hoping it deals with cancer, Alzheimer's, or some other important issue. The results come in, and it is ear wax.
 
2007-09-04 10:45:39 AM  
ApocoLypstick: Hypersapien: In other news, there's more than one type of ear wax.

Just as there is more than one type of eargasm.

I'm a q-tip gal myself. Not sure how you key people do it without taking out brain cells.


My dad does it with his keys. I couldn't defend that he hasn't taken some brain cells. In fact, that may explain a lot......

I never knew there was different types of earwax until I had kids. Amazing the things you discover when you're responsible for someone else's hygiene. My daughter's earwax is a lot like mine, sort of gooey and yellow. My son's is more dry, like actual wax, and almost orange.

TMYK!
 
2007-09-04 10:46:26 AM  
Paperclips...

you'll never touch a q-tip again
 
2007-09-04 10:53:34 AM  
gs70991

Yeah they do. They have the same earwax as some south americans and can be traced back to a single ancestor 10,000 years ago, or something along those lines. This same gene is the reason Asians don't have smelly sweat, apparently.

/Saw it on TV yesterday
//not sure if I'm completely correct
 
2007-09-04 10:53:42 AM  
Here to second the paperclips ...
 
2007-09-04 10:56:04 AM  
Is copious a type?
 
2007-09-04 10:56:50 AM  
EW! I just spoke Skånska a little bit.
 
2007-09-04 10:57:10 AM  
Dry ballpoint pen. All the way.
 
2007-09-04 10:58:45 AM  
That's a benefit?
 
2007-09-04 11:00:30 AM  
I don't see what the big deal is about this guy getting his genetics all mapped out. I'd want to if I could. It makes sense that someone working on the project would be first.
 
2007-09-04 11:00:41 AM  
Dry ballpoint pen. All the way.

Only the cap, and only if it's the variety pictured below. Best ear-digger ever.

www.texasgeocaching.com
 
2007-09-04 11:03:10 AM  
NineInchNader: Only the cap, and only if it's the variety pictured below. Best ear-digger ever.

I gotta give you that. Qtips are da bomb...but for a good dig/scratch combo the bic topper takes the win.
 
2007-09-04 11:03:10 AM  
Buddha is chubby: This same gene is the reason Asians don't have smelly sweat, apparently.

This is not true. I have a Chinese girlfriend (cheerleader) and her sweat STINKS!!!
 
2007-09-04 11:04:23 AM  
wax on
wax off

/got nuttin'
 
2007-09-04 11:08:11 AM  
I don't mind ear wax, but ear wane bothers me.
 
2007-09-04 11:12:01 AM  
No_Sir

Depends on diet as well, I guess. But apparently Japanese don't have stinky sweat which is why deoderants don't sell well there.
 
2007-09-04 11:13:15 AM  
Orange. Or maybe I don't wash in there enough.
 
rpa
2007-09-04 11:24:07 AM  
FistFark: I don't mind ear wax, but ear wane bothers me.

i thought that ear wax was what happened to people as they got older. perhaps vangogh was trying to attempt ear wane when he lopped it off.

---

i don't care about ear wax... i can handle that with a q-tip (the key thing just disgusts me, i'm ambivalent about the pen cap so long as you don't actually put it back on the pen when you're done. what i want to find a way to genetically deprogram when i get old is ear hair. my father is about 55 and fortunately doesn't seem to have the forest of ear hair i see on some men his age (but maybe he's trimming it? not a conversation i've ever had with the man....) still... ear hair. eeech.

/i would've submitted this with a "still no cure for cancer" headline, myself.
 
2007-09-04 11:26:20 AM  
gs70991

Asians and Native Americans produce drier earax, a recessive trait. People knew this long before the genome was decoded.

/In my genetics textbook!
 
2007-09-04 11:26:36 AM  
Buddha is chubby: This same gene is the reason Asians don't have smelly sweat, apparently.

Sweat dose not stink, not one daym bit, it is the bacteria that live in it that cause the oder we can detect. I may buy that some sweat may be less likely to support said bacteria, but the bottom line is sweat dose not stink, your armpits do!
 
2007-09-04 11:28:10 AM  
I seem to have a different type in each ear. On the left, kinda gooey. On the right, flaky and dry.

//Why am I sharing this with you?
//Why do I know this?
 
2007-09-04 11:28:59 AM  
yeah I didn't mean the sweat itself doesn't stink. Additionally, I didn't mean all asians. Just something I saw on tv yesterday and thought I'd throw out there.
 
2007-09-04 11:32:08 AM  
Buddha is chubby: Depends on diet as well, I guess. But apparently Japanese don't have stinky sweat which is why deoderants don't sell well there.

Some people just don't use deodorant even though they should. Maybe the Japanese use something else (like cologne/perfume) instead of deodorant? Maybe the use of deodorant is cultural.

I agree with you that diet probably factors into the smell of sweat but otherwise the "stinkiness" of sweat is arbitrary.
 
2007-09-04 11:34:17 AM  
Buddha is chubby: Depends on diet as well, I guess.

Yes, especially when you factor in kimchee.
 
F42
2007-09-04 11:44:16 AM  
Hypersapien: In other news, there's more than one type of ear wax.

This is the type of things you learn when you date a Japanese masseuse.

/In other news, people pay Japanese women to scrape out their dry earwax...
 
2007-09-04 11:46:07 AM  
car key works pretty well too


/Thank Wilson where ever you are! You 6 toed West Virgian hillybilly for showing me that trick,
 
2007-09-04 11:46:08 AM  
I've met Venter a few times. He's scary-smart in an intimidating way. Some people say it's his ego, but he's a forward thinker so it's hard to keep up with where he's "going" in his plans. He tries to push boundaries a lot. Some people love him, some people hate him -- and his ear wax.

Anyway, he's a pretty good guy. I didn't know he grew a beard.
 
F42
2007-09-04 11:47:04 AM  
No_Sir: Some people just don't use deodorant even though they should. Maybe the Japanese use something else (like cologne/perfume) instead of deodorant? Maybe the use of deodorant is cultural.

I agree with you that diet probably factors into the smell of sweat but otherwise the "stinkiness" of sweat is arbitrary.


They don't use perfume instead... I think it's half diet and half strict daily hygiene.
 
2007-09-04 11:49:24 AM  
Yummy
i14.tinypic.com
 
rpa
2007-09-04 11:50:46 AM  
jpsm: Yummy

it's like cotton candy with caramel on top.

/will be unable to eat lunch now. thanks one million.
 
2007-09-04 11:54:12 AM  
http://scienceblogs.com/gnxp/2006/01/wet_or_dry_ear_wax.php

from the article above:

"They write that earwax type and armpit odor are correlated, since populations with dry earwax, such as those of East Asia, tend to sweat less and have little or no body odor, whereas the wet earwax populations of Africa and Europe sweat more and so may have greater body odor."

Sorry, not an HTML kinda guy. First article I found on google.
 
2007-09-04 11:54:35 AM  
jpsm: Yummy

o...that makes me wanna slowly put one in and wiggle it around faster and faster....
 
2007-09-04 11:55:31 AM  
Ever since Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, I'm very skittish with my ears. ["Oh Carlos, lend me your ear!"]

Paperclips? The surface is too smooth and the loop is too thick for anything.

Pen cap? Too sharp.

I have a ear pick, made of plastic, small loop. I got it at a drug store and it works well.

BTW, The Art of Ear Picking is an interesting read. (pops) In Asian countries, ear picking is to be done with your SO.
 
2007-09-04 12:15:34 PM  
My wife used to q-tip my ears, but I found out from my doctor (while getting my yearly ear flush) that sticking anything in there bigger than your finger isn't good for your ears and can actually cause more harm than good.

I suffer from the wet, sticky, dark, abundant variety (think vegimite) and my morning ritual in the shower is to let my ears fill up with warm water and just sit for a few minutes, loosen it all up and then drain. I get plugs very easily and several doctors have said not to do anything with q-tips, paper clips, bobby-pins or pen caps. You end up scratching the lining of your ears and the wax will build up to fight a possible infection.

Yeah, I have issues.
 
2007-09-04 12:19:07 PM  
RocsFlight: I feel sorry for the scientists who discovered this. I can see them looking at a gene for months, hoping it deals with cancer, Alzheimer's, or some other important issue. The results come in, and it is ear wax.

These guys didn't discover the genes for earwax, they had been previously discovered. This article is just about what they have found so far in Venter's personal genome.
 
2007-09-04 12:23:07 PM  
We do need to make sure that as part of this process we start collecting data from a broad distribution of people in general.

obviously. but one step at a time. the analogy i heard was something like 'well if we're trying to learn about how english works, it's a start to fully understand one book. other books follow the same basic rules. so any book should be fine to start'....
it takes so much time and machinery to just do one completely that there's no other way to get started....
paraphrased - saw it on that science show that alan alda hosts years ago...

but IIRC celera used 5 people, ventner was only one of them...
 
2007-09-04 12:51:42 PM  
CapitolG: Buddha is chubby: This same gene is the reason Asians don't have smelly sweat, apparently.

Sweat dose not stink, not one daym bit, it is the bacteria that live in it that cause the oder we can detect. I may buy that some sweat may be less likely to support said bacteria, but the bottom line is sweat dose not stink, your armpits do!


Not entirely true. It depends how much garlic/booze you had the day before!
 
2007-09-04 01:03:46 PM  
Asians and Native Americans produce drier earax, a recessive trait. People knew this long before the genome was decoded.

Messed up maybe that's why I have earwax that's neither wet or dry, in fact it varies.

/I'm Chinese and Eastern European.
 
2007-09-04 01:16:26 PM  
I know a guy from Southern China who never wears deodorant. I've spent many hours with him in a small office and have never smelled BO. My guess is a body chemistry that doesn't promote the growth of "sweat bacteria."

I shower daily, and still have to wear deodorant to keep from stinking after a few hours.
 
2007-09-04 01:22:24 PM  
gs70991 Quote 2007-09-04 10:33:03 AM
I've heard it from numerous sources that asians produce entirely different forms of earwax. Can anyone confirm/disconfirm this?


Turtle Wax?

/Wax on, Wax off
//Still no cure for cancer
 
2007-09-04 01:24:05 PM  
xadrian: My wife used to q-tip my ears, but I found out from my doctor (while getting my yearly ear flush) that sticking anything in there bigger than your finger isn't good for your ears and can actually cause more harm than good.

I suffer from the wet, sticky, dark, abundant variety (think vegimite) and my morning ritual in the shower is to let my ears fill up with warm water and just sit for a few minutes, loosen it all up and then drain. I get plugs very easily and several doctors have said not to do anything with q-tips, paper clips, bobby-pins or pen caps. You end up scratching the lining of your ears and the wax will build up to fight a possible infection.

Yeah, I have issues.


A few months ago my gf scratched my eardrum while cleaning out my ears. The doctor looked at me like I was crazy for letting her do it. It healed after a week or so, but I wasn't happy...
/My ear is currently plugged with wax.
 
2007-09-04 01:26:04 PM  
wjllope: obviously. but one step at a time. the analogy i heard was something like 'well if we're trying to learn about how english works, it's a start to fully understand one book. other books follow the same basic rules. so any book should be fine to start'....
it takes so much time and machinery to just do one completely that there's no other way to get started....
paraphrased - saw it on that science show that alan alda hosts years ago...

but IIRC celera used 5 people, ventner was only one of them...


The issue wasn't that it was just Venter. The majority of these early personal genome projects were all famous scientists. The outcry was mostly just because the scientific community is worried about it looking elitist. That and scientifically we will get the most benefit by the individual genomes coming from diverse sources. If all of the books are written by middle aged people of European descent well you get the picture.

Of course there are only so many you can do to start. It is ridiculously expensive to sequence a genome right now, I know all about it. The diversity will come but it needs to come sooner rather than later.
 
2007-09-04 01:51:19 PM  
Use a hairpin. You can scoop up the wax with the rounded end.

Asians also have a dedicated earwax picker tool, but I find they're too big for my ears:

global.kita.net
 
2007-09-04 01:58:09 PM  
Since we're sharing tips on ear wax cleaning... for a good spring cleaning, pour some hydrogen peroxide into your ear. Drain, repeat on other side. It will fizz and may bubble over, but it will get all of the superfluous wax out of your ears.

/sqeaky clean!
 
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