Vedere la Scienza Festival

XV International Scientific TV, Film and AV Media Festival

Milano   2/5/2011 - 8/5/2011

Spazio Oberdan, Viale Vittorio Veneto 2 - MILANO
Mediateca Santa Teresa, Via Moscova 28 - MILANO


Marco Polo 2010: Genes and Tastes Along the Silk Road

  1. Author: Elisabetta Eördegh
  2. Director: Carlo Auriemma
  3. Scientific Advisor: Paolo Gasparini
  4. Editor: Carlo Auriemma
  5. Photography: Elisabetta Eördegh
  6. Music: Alessandra Modugno
  7. Sound: Alessandra Modugno
  8. Production: SISSA Medialab
  9. Italy
  10. 27 min.
  11. 2010

The food preferences of human beings have been found to have a genetic origin, which adds up to cultural motivations. Taste perception has been found to depend on genes, the main one being responsible for perception of the bitter taste. The variability of these genes between individuals and between different populations helps account for the broad variety of tastes and food traditions among human beings. To study and analyze these phenomena, a team of geneticists from the Trieste University has travelled through Central Asia, from Georgia to China, performing genetic samplings and tests on food tastes and preferences in the isolated communities along the Silk Road, which used to link the East to the West in ancient times. A 14thousand km journey amidst dusty deserts, remains of old civilizations, strange natural phenomena, and countless languages and populations.
The processing of test data and the comparison of the collected DNA samples will provide a deeper insight into relations between taste and genetics, and will help improve the treatment and prevention of food-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and others. The report on the research journey in the documentary offers the images of an impressive, remote, and forgotten nature and blends with the story of the food and human traditions of the approached communities.