Ge­net­ics in a Sneeze

PS Magazine - - POP CULTURE, NEWS, AND EVENTS FROM PAST DECADES -

When you look at a bright light and start sneez­ing, the cause is a ge­netic re­flex called Au­to­so­mal Dom­i­nant Com­pelling He­lio-Oph­thalmic Out­burst Syn­drome, also known by the acro­nym ACHOO. It is es­ti­mated that 20– 35% of the hu­man pop­u­la­tion has the “photic sneeze re­flex” or a “so­lar sneeze” trait. To test if you have the gene, go into a dark room and wait for your eyes to ad­just to the dark­ness. Then exit the room and look at a bright light, prefer­ably the sun. Most peo­ple will sneeze 2– 3 times when the re­flex is set off.

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