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Olfactory Receptors and Transduction

Like all sensory stimuli, odors carry information. Odors can tell you whether your food is fresh or spoiled; can warn of dangers like fire, predators, or infection; and may even provide information about the suitability of a mate. Though some odors may elicit the same stereotyped behaviors or hormonal changes in every individual, the meaning of most odors is heavily dependent on our previous experiences, our motivations and preferences, and the context in which they are encountered. However, no matter what their meaning might be, odors can only be perceived if they are detected. Odors are complex mixtures of chemical stimuli. Each component of a particular odor mixture is termed an odorant. Humans and other mammals use a large repertoire of receptor proteins on ...

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