Olfaction: diverse species, conserved principles

Neuron. 2005 Nov 3;48(3):417-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2005.10.022.


Olfaction is a vitally important sense for all animals. There are striking similarities between species in the organization of the olfactory pathway, from the nature of the odorant receptor proteins, to perireceptor processes, to the organization of the olfactory CNS, through odor-guided behavior and memory. These common features span a phylogenetically broad array of animals, implying that there is an optimal solution to the problem of detecting and discriminating odors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Olfactory Pathways / cytology
  • Olfactory Pathways / physiology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Odorant / genetics
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Receptors, Odorant