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Mechanisms of sensitivity and specificity in olfaction.

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  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


The sensitivity and specificity of the mammalian olfactory system is the result of the contributions at the anatomical, cellular, and biochemical levels. The recent identification of a large gene family encoding putative olfactory receptors suggests that genetic diversity may play an important role in this system. Future challenges lie in understanding the mechanism that regulates expression of each of the receptors and establishes the complex neural processing network that interprets the primary neuronal responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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