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What Your Earwax Says About You

Your gross earwax can reveal a ton about who you are, where you’ve been, and how stinky you are.
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Yoshiura, K., et al. (2006). “A SNP in the ABCC11 gene is the determinant of human earwax type.” Nature Genetics, 38, 324 – 330.
http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v38/n3/full/ng1733.html

Prokop-Prigge, K. A., Thaler, E., Wysocki, C. J., & Preti, G. (2014). Identification of volatile organic compounds in human cerumen. Journal of Chromatography. B, Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences, 0, 48–52.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987112/

Prokop-Prigge, K. A., Mansfield, C. J., Parker, M. R., Thaler, E., Grice, E. A., Wysocki, C. J., & Preti, G. (2015). ETHNIC/RACIAL AND GENETIC INFLUENCES ON CERUMEN ODOR PROFILES. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(1), 67–74. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-014-0533-y
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4304888/

Trumble, S. J., et al. (2013). “Blue whale earplug reveals lifetime contaminant exposure and hormone profiles.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(42): 16922-16926.
http://www.pnas.org/content/110/42/16922.abstract

(Smithsonian.com) For Scientists, Chunks of Whale Earwax Can Be Biological Treasure Troves
http://bit.ly/2mnlc6G

Host, Writer, Animator, Editor
Anna Rothschild

Camera, Sound
Ana Aceves

Additional Voice Over
Allison Eck

Original Footage
©WGBH Educational Foundation 2017

Rolling Underground
Music Provided by APM

Gross Images and Footage

Fig 1. from Trumble, S. J., et al. (2013). “Blue whale earplug reveals lifetime contaminant exposure and hormone profiles.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(42): 16922-16926.
Courtesy Dr. Sascha Usenko and Dr. Stephen J. Trumble, Baylor University

Image of Prokop-Prigge, K. A., Mansfield, C. J., Parker, M. R., Thaler, E., Grice, E. A., Wysocki, C. J., & Preti, G. (2015). ETHNIC/RACIAL AND GENETIC INFLUENCES ON CERUMEN ODOR PROFILES. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 41(1), 67–74.

OhrenSchmalzBrocken
Wikimedia Commons/Freak1972 aka Ulf Hundeiker

Dry Earwax
Wikimedia Commons/Kelvinc

Armpit by David Shankbone
Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone

Gross SFX

Wink
Freesound/bennychico11

Poof of Smoke
Freesound/Planman

Male drinking slurping aaaaaaaaaaah small belch
Freesound/Anton

Running Water Bubbles 02
Freesound/kijjaz

Gross Science is produced by WGBH for PBS Digital Studios

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