It is a good story – given sweaty t-shirts, women sniff out those men whose HLA (human leucocyte antigen) type is convivial to reproduction. However, it does not appear to be true for men sniffing the odours of women – at least according to a careful study of HLA-linked olfactory preferences for odours gathered just before ovulation. Men readily differentiated between odours they preferred or disliked, but these preferences did not correlate with HLA types.
— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director
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- Probst F, Fischbacher U, Lobmaier JS, Wirthmüller U, Knoch D. Men’s preferences for women’s body odours are not associated with human leucocyte antigen. Prof R Soc B. 2017; 384: 20171830.