Study: Two Percent of Women Have No B.O. Gene

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Photo: Jutta Klee/Corbis

Two percent of women carry a “rare version of a particular gene (ABC11), which means they don’t produce any under-arm odour,” according to a University of Bristol study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology today. (Side note: best medical journal ever?) The 6,495 participants were recruited from the Bristol area as part of a longitudinal health study called Children of the 90s, which the researchers were careful to contrast with "the situation in North East Asia, where most people do not need to use deodorant and they don’t."

Think you might be one of the lucky few? There’s a pretty reliable way of telling if you have the gene.

"The authors highlight that people who carry this rare genetic variant are also more likely to have dry (rather than sticky) ear wax and that checking ear wax is a good indicator of whether or not a person produces under-arm odour."

According to the researchers, 75 percent of the non-smelly people still used deodorant because, well, advertising works.