4/30/2013

Scientists recently found that interrupting just one olfactory gene can have consequences for survival in mice, a finding that also sheds light on how the human sense of smell works. Mice who lacked a gene for smelling amines, compounds found in cat urine and decaying tissues, did not display aversive behavior when they encountered predator scent marks. Humans detect amines in spoiled food. Experts said the finding was unexpected: "The general consensus in the field is that removing a single olfactory receptor gene would not have a significant effect on odor perception," said study co-author and neurobiologist Thomas Bozza.

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