Thursday, November 01, 2007

Theme: A Sense of Smell

The detection of odor is a complex signal transduction pathway that begins with the binding of an odor molecule (ligand) to an olfactory receptor located in sensory neurons in the nasal cavity. The pathway is interesting for a number of reasons including the mechanism of signal transduction and the structure of the olfactory receptors. One of the important problems in the field is the identification of the specific odor molecules that bind to specific receptors—or even whether each receptor actually binds a specific molecule.

The olfactory receptor genes make up the largest gene family in mammalian genomes and the study of these genes and their evolution provides plenty of opportunities to learn about the mechanisms of gene family evolution.

Jan. 8, 2007
Monday's Molecule #8

Jan. 9, 2007
The Smell of Cat Pee

Jan. 9, 2007
A Sense of Smell: Olfactory Receptors

Jan. 10, 2007
Nobel Laureates: Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck

Jan. 11, 2007
Olfactory Receptor Genes

Jan. 13, 2007
The Evolution of Gene Families (Birth and Death)

Sept. 20, 2007
Calling All Adaptationists (Again)

Nov. 1, 2007
Can You Smell Isovaleric Acid?


  1. I am a biochemist from India and find your blog very interesting.

    Do humans also pocess a pathway for the synthesis of pheromones ? Is there something common to all mamals ?

    Coevolution of the genes invovled in the genes invovled in detection of olfactory singals must occur. I read somewhere about the evolution of evolability. Some genes just are more amenable to change and alteration.

    I was also interested in your comment elsewhere that you recived fewer comments on science than on other issues.

  2. I am curious to find out what you think of Luca Turin's idea of olfaction and his book The Secret of Scent. I have read it from a biology/psychologist's point of view.