Monday, July 31, 2006

Can you smell something in the air?

I think I can safely assume that most everyone has heard of at one point or another. However, one thing I don't think most people realize is that the evidence for pheromonal activity in humans has been far from conclusive. For one thing, humans not only lack functional genes homologous to most pheromone receptors that have been discovered; we even seem to lack the organ that pheromone receptors are generally found in! Also, there is very little evidence for pheromonal effects: the only article I can recall having heard of before today is Stern & McClintock's Regulation of ovulation by human pheromones.

But all that may be about to change:

On that dream date, something really might be in the air. Results from a mouse study may bolster the evidence for human pheromones, the long-debated chemical signals thought to unconsciously sway our behaviour...

... Finding such receptors in the lining of the nose, rather the vomeronasal organ, is a more direct parallel with humans. Stephen Liberles and Linda Buck report their finding online this week in Nature (S. D. Liberles & L. B. Buck Nature doi:10.1038/nature05066; 2006)1. They isolated a group of receptors that can be triggered by at least one known mouse pheromone.

Genes encoding this family of receptors are also found in humans. "It's probably our best bet yet for functional pheromone genes in humans," says Timothy Holy, a neurobiologist at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri.

For their part, Liberles and Buck are cautious about labelling the mouse proteins as pheromone receptors. They have not yet carried out a key test to show that activating or eliminating the receptors alters a mouse's behaviour. But Buck says that her team is "intrigued by the possibility" of their being pheromone receptors, and is embarking on tests to find out.

Olfactory systems are one of the big areas of research in neuroscience right now. I'm honestly not sure why that is. But if --who won a Nobel Prize for her work on cloning and investigating the molecular mechanisms of olfactory receptors--is able to conclusively confirm the existence of pheromone receptors in humans, I think you're going to see an explosion of research in that area. Of course, I could be talking through my hat here.


At 31 July, 2006 15:13, Anonymous Plant Master Flash said...

What would be required to demonstrate that a given receptor is not olfactory but pheromonal? It seems rather like a matter of semantics, doesn't it?

Maybe something that a volunteer cannot consciously ascribe an odor to, but which affects their behavior nonetheless?

Anyway, my understanding is that putative human pheromones have been known of for a while. I went to a seminar in grad school about pheromones (of all varieties) and this was how I learned that too much AND (putative human male pheromone) makes me feel *creeped out*.

At 01 August, 2006 16:16, Blogger The Neurophile said...

I have no idea: we covered it my first semester in intro Neuro, and I don't really remember anything other than "humans don't have receptor genes." I've seen claims (similar to some of the links) proposing that humans either have pheromone pathway homologous to one as-yet undiscovered (which this discovery would seem to suggest) or via an entirely novel mechanism (which seems a bit random guessing to my tastes).

In terms of mechanisms, I would have to say that the minimum requirement would be an ability to influence behavior--or better yet, metabolism--in a fashion a subject can't consciously explain. But that's just me guessing: I'm sure there are better explanations out there, I'm just too lazy to read the papers. I don't necessarilly (sp?) think it can't have an odor, just that the odor isn't consciously associated by subjects with the effect. Although now that I think about it, it does seem likely that any putative pheromone wouldn't have a consciously recognized odor... so I dunno.

At 20 October, 2015 21:13, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.21
ugg boots clearance, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet, air max, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, nike shoes, christian louboutin, longchamp handbags, prada handbags, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online sale, longchamp outlet, uggs outlet, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany and co, rolex watches, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet stores, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, replica watches, louboutin, uggs, oakley sunglasses cheap, cheap uggs, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ugg outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp handbags, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, nike free, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton handbags, louboutin outlet

At 20 October, 2015 21:16, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

polo ralph lauren, oakley pas cher, nike roshe, vanessa bruno, lululemon outlet online, nike free pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, louboutin, nike tn, nike free, true religion outlet, longchamp, sac guess, air max pas cher, true religion outlet, coach factory outlet, hollister, nike blazer, new balance pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, kate spade handbags, timberland, air max, mulberry, coach outlet store online, true religion jeans, ralph lauren, north face, coach purses, vans pas cher, ray ban pas cher, nike air force, michael kors, michael kors outlet, polo lacoste, air max, nike roshe run pas cher, sac hermes, converse pas cher, michael kors uk, north face, ray ban sunglasses, hollister, michael kors pas cher, nike air max, true religion jeans, hogan outlet, air jordan, sac burberry

At 20 October, 2015 21:20, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike trainers, baseball bats, valentino shoes, vans shoes, north face outlet, celine handbags, louboutin, oakley, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, abercrombie, giuseppe zanotti, hollister, timberland boots, new balance shoes, vans, air max, mcm handbags, lululemon outlet, air max, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, reebok outlet, gucci, p90x, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, birkin bag, north face jackets, nfl jerseys, ghd, insanity workout, nike roshe run, ray ban, mont blanc, converse shoes, abercrombie and fitch, soccer shoes, converse, nike huaraches, iphone cases, herve leger, mac cosmetics, beats by dre, longchamp, chi flat iron, hollister clothing store, ralph lauren, ferragamo shoes, burberry outlet, air max

At 20 October, 2015 21:24, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

canada goose uk, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose, sac louis vuitton, karen millen, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, ugg, ugg boots, links of london, wedding dresses, pandora charms, swarovski, louis vuitton uk, marc jacobs, sac lancel, toms shoes, thomas sabo, moncler, canada goose, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, barbour, rolex watches, pandora charms, doke gabbana, montre homme, pandora jewelry, moncler, swarovski crystal, canada goose, pandora jewelry, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet, sac louis vuitton, ugg, michael kors handbags, moncler outlet, ugg, canada goose jackets, barbour, moncler, canada goose, supra shoes, juicy couture, ugg pas cher, moncler, louis vuitton, moncler
ninest123 10.21


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Send Haloscan trackback ping

<< Home

Academics Blog Top Sites