HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Scientists find just how discriminating a worm can be: Unique system of overlapping odor sensors discovered

ell can get confused, but by comparing the private and shared information, the animal sorts out and distinguishes all possible combinations of odors."

The combinatorial approach may be unique to this simple creature, Bargmann suggests, or it may be a clue to how higher organisms including humans solve the same problem: how a sensory system or another part of the brain can process a nearly limitless number of environmental cues with a finite number of nerves.

"We want to understand the relationship between genes, cells and behavior in the brain," she said, "but our own brains are complex beyond belief. In this fairly simple animal, we can decode the 'thinking strategy' used by every cell in the brain."

The research is published in the April 5 issue of Nature. Lead author is Paul D. Wes, PhD, a post-doctoral scientist in Bargmann's laboratory. (In a parallel paper in the same issue, a research group in Oregon found similar results in the worm's taste center, a system that is organized much like the taste system in humans.)

The worm in question is C. elegans, or more elegantly, Caenorhabditis elegans, a millimeter-long soil dweller widely studied by geneticists and developmental biologists because it displays many developmental processes and instinctive behaviors common to higher organisms. The worm is tiny and transparent, with a very small brain that can be studied in detail.

The key odors of interest in the UCSF study were benzaldehyde, which gives off a scent somewhat like almond, and butanone which has an oily smell. Both are thought to be produced by bacteria, the worm's food, but both can also be pervasive smells without useful information. Under those circumstances a sensible worm ought to ignore them, Bargmann said.

The scientists assayed a worm's ability to distinguish between the two odors by exposing it to a high concentration of butanone and then testing its ability to be attracted to benzaldehyde in this o
'"/>

Contact: Wallace Ravven
wravven@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
4-Apr-2001


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
2. Scientists sequence genome of kind of organism central to biospheres carbon cycle
3. Scientists find nanowires capable of detecting individual viruses
4. Scientists discover potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria
5. Scientists explore genome of methane-breathing microbe
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Stuck on you: Scientists lay bare secrets of bacterial attachment proteins
8. Scientists discover proteins involved in spread of HIV-1 infection
9. Scientists fear new Ebola outbreak may explain sudden gorilla disappearance
10. Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
11. Scientists visualise cellular handmaiden that restores shape to proteins

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/9/2019)... ... November 08, 2019 , ... SiteSeer Technologies, creator of SiteSeer Professional retail site ... and user of SiteSeer. The boutique real estate developer of single and multi-tenant buildings ... to supplement its own analysis of markets. , Geoffrey Kerth, manager of GPK ...
(Date:11/6/2019)... ... 2019 , ... In October, Massachusetts stem cell biotechnology company ... a poorly disclosed deficiency in stem cell treatments. Throughout stem cell medical ... stem cells. This problem affects all patients receiving stem cell treatments, including ...
(Date:11/2/2019)... ... October 31, 2019 , ... In this podcast, Smith spoke about the ... research and consulting. , The Beyond the Lab Podcast is an interview series initiated ... who have jobs in the biomedical field — and in these interviews, the alumni ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/22/2019)... ... , ... Catalent, a global leader in clinical supply services, today announced that ... in a panel session titled “Cell and Gene Therapy Logistics” at the upcoming Health ... on Oct. 28-30, 2019. , The panel session, on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 8:30 ...
(Date:10/22/2019)... ... October 22, 2019 , ... DermBiont, a clinical stage ... DBI-001, met its primary safety endpoints, with no application site reactions and no ... the treatment of interdigital tinea pedis (athlete’s foot). Additionally, the trial demonstrated a ...
(Date:10/17/2019)... ... October 16, 2019 , ... ... genetic counseling information, has published a new white paper that explores how frequently ... guidance as to how patients and medical providers can be kept informed as ...
(Date:10/10/2019)... ... October 09, 2019 , ... ... MD, PhD, Principal Deputy Commissioner, FDA, as a newly-confirmed keynote speaker for the ... in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. , Dr. Abernethy, a hematologist/oncologist and palliative medicine ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: