Odor alternative

Mammals have an exquisitely tuned sensory system that tells them whether they are smelling an orange or a rose. Like keys on a piano keyboard, each component of an odor blend strikes only one chord of olfactory neuron activation. These chords are combined to form a melody that is “heard” in the brain as distinctly citrusy or sweet and flowery. More than 25 years of neurobiology research has provided us with the understanding that there is a one-to-one-correspondence between the individual smells detected by an olfactory sensory neuron and the chemical receptor it expresses. This proprietary linking explains how distinct information about odors travels along parallel sensory pathways to the brain, and enables the brain to identify and distinguish different smells in the world. That understanding included the mechanism behind…

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