" Surprisingly, the African elephant had the most extensive olfactory repertoire, with almost 2,000 OR genes."
Tokyo, July 23 - Researchers have found that African elephants have the largest number of olfactory receptor (OR) genes ever characterised - more than twice than that of dogs and five times more than humans.

The ability to distinguish different odours, which is important for sniffing out food, avoiding predators, and finding mates, depends on the number and type of olfactory receptors found in an organism's genome.

Apparently, an elephant's nose is not only long but also superior, said author Yoshihito Niimura from University of Tokyo in Japan.

Conversely, humans, along with our primate relatives, have much fewer numbers of OR genes compared to all other species examined, possibly as a result of our diminished reliance on smell as our visual acuity improved.

To characterise the olfactory capabilities of different mammals, the authors examined genome sequences from 13 placental mammals and identified over 10,000 OR genes in total.

The repertoire of OR genes found in any given species was highly unique - only 3 OR genes were shared and evolutionarily conserved amongst all 13 mammals.

Surprisingly, the African elephant had the most extensive olfactory repertoire, with almost 2,000 OR genes.

The study appeared in the journal Genome Research.


comments powered by Disqus
Read more on:
 

PERMALINK

http://www.nerve.in/news:2535002390369
You can quote the permanent link above for a direct link to the story. We do not archive or expire our news stories.


STORY OPTIONS
  Email this story to a friend
  XML feed for Asia


 
COPYRIGHTS INFORMATION
All rights reserved for news content. Reproduction, storage or redistribution of Nerve content and articles in any medium is strictly prohibited.
Contact Nerve Staff for any feedback, corrections and omissions in news stories.
 

All rights reserved for the news content. Reproduction, storage or redistribution of Nerve content and articles in any medium is strictly prohibited.