Sensory Perception

Inhaling Information

Science's STKE  25 Feb 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 171, pp. tw84-TW84
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.171.tw84

Mice rely heavily on pheromones--nonvolatile biochemicals that animals use for communication. By recording from single neurons in a part of the brain called the accessory olfactory bulb while one mouse was interacting with other mice, Luo et al. found that some neurons responded specifically to male mice, other neurons to female mice, and still others could distinguish members of the same species from those of other species. Thus, the pheromone system allows mice to distinguish essential characteristics of other mice with one sniff.

M. Luo, M. S. Fee, L. C. Katz, Encoding pheromonal signals in the accessory olfactory bulb of behaving mice. Science 299, 1196-1201 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]