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Blocked Gene Gives Mice Super Smell

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posted on May, 2 2009 @ 05:54 AM
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This is a rather old article that I came across, that I found interesting:


Time to hide the cheese. Researchers have created a mutant mouse strain whose sense of smell is much sharper and more sensitive than that of typical mice. Oddly enough, they did so by inactivating a gene in the rodents, not by adding one.

The knocked-out gene encodes a protein called Kv1.3, which normally assembles into some of the membrane channels that control the flow of potassium ions in and out of cells and thereby regulate how readily nerve cells respond to stimuli.

Because the protein is found in cells of the olfactory bulb of mice, Debra A. Fadool of Florida State University Florida State University, at Tallahassee and her colleagues suspected that deactivating the gene might create rodents with a poor sense of smell. In the Feb. 5 Neuron, the researchers report the opposite result: Mice lacking Kv1.3 have a sense of smell 1,000 to 10,000 times as sensitive as that of typical mice and are better at discriminating closely related odors. The researchers speculate that variations in the corresponding human gene may account for differences in people's sense of smell.

Further study of the mutant mice revealed that the animals had smaller-than-average glomeruli, the odor-detecting units of the nose, but the rodents had many more of them than usual. The researchers haven't documented other profound physical or behavioral abnormalities in the rodents lacking the Kv1.3 gene.--J.T.

www.thefreelibrary.com...


Now, the question I have is why evolution would favor a gene that limits a creature's sense of smell? Any biologists with some insight on this?


[edit on 5/2/2009 by LiquidLight]




posted on May, 2 2009 @ 06:51 AM
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Well they are only mice. A really sensitive nose would make them more curious. I think a non sensitive nose keeps them out of trouble.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 08:19 AM
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The genes in our bodies are incredibly, incredibly, incredibly, inc.. they are really really long. It specifies everything in your body through 4 basic building blocks (CGAT) as you know .. well, in those incredibly long sentences (books) with 4 letters, there's so much information that it supplies both how things work, and how things dont work. It's the most reliable way of constructing a system - there's a part in the DNA that tells our cells to die after a certain time, and certainly stop growing. That is important, nay - vital information, because it keeps us from getting cancer. This is just one example of what is inside our DNA to make sure the system around the DNA works properly.

So basically the genes contain information from all sides, enabling and blocking. It's absolutely not written from a human point of view ('and this lets us smell cookies, and then this..') - instead, it's all very systematic and logical. You could say that we need this receptor blocked a little bit, because if we would smell 1000 to 10000 times better, we'd get distracted all the time.
Wonder how the rat is doing.

[edit on 2-5-2009 by scraze]



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 08:47 AM
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You could argue that a better sense of smell protects against predators.

The problem I have with this stuff is that "evolutionary biology" consists in making an observation and then just making stuff up to "explain" how it "evolved".

And don't think that because I put the word "evolved" in quotes makes me some sort of God-botherer, either. I just don't think Darwinism explains the process of life's development very well.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 05:27 PM
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Originally posted by rich23
You could argue that a better sense of smell protects against predators.

The problem I have with this stuff is that "evolutionary biology" consists in making an observation and then just making stuff up to "explain" how it "evolved".

And don't think that because I put the word "evolved" in quotes makes me some sort of God-botherer, either. I just don't think Darwinism explains the process of life's development very well.


It's more like "a better sense of smell could protect against predators." but no matter what if you increase the things a living organism can sense it will become curious about the things it does not "know about". That may or may not include predators.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by ScRuFFy63

It's more like "a better sense of smell could protect against predators." but no matter what if you increase the things a living organism can sense it will become curious about the things it does not "know about". That may or may not include predators.


Although I don't agree with it, that is a very good answer. Maybe naure itself would seek to inhibit us, to avoid temptation and boost suvival possibility? Not sold, but interesting, IMO this would definitely bring a new perspective to nature.

As for our genes inhibiting us, preventing us from reaching our full potential, thats a new spin on an old idea, crazy indeed. Cruel to be kind?

EMM



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 09:10 PM
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Could be all types of reasons they dumbed down their sense of smell over evolutions time line.

For example in Humans our eye sight has gotten worse over the generations due to the fact we dont use it like we used too. IE, hunting/survival. Now everything is easier to see therefore we do not need the eye sight.

Maybe it's the chemicals the mice spend their time around? the harsh smells might have caused them to lower their smelling power.

Just go stick your nose in a sewer youll know what I mean then.



posted on May, 2 2009 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by ElectroMagnetic Multivers
[Although I don't agree with it, that is a very good answer. Maybe naure itself would seek to inhibit us, to avoid temptation and boost suvival possibility? Not sold, but interesting, IMO this would definitely bring a new perspective to nature.

As for our genes inhibiting us, preventing us from reaching our full potential, thats a new spin on an old idea, crazy indeed. Cruel to be kind?

EMM


Well one of the only things that I find to be absolute is the strive for balance in the universe. If an animal has an abundance of food at its disposal it will greedily eat until it becomes fat and more than likely die early but happy and full whereas the animal who has to work for its food will be in better shape and live a longer harsher life.

It's really not about life or death it's about balance. As of now the only 2 things I have to do in my lifetime are live and die. That is balance.

Of course at a glance there would appear to be loopholes all over but everything has its own individual balance that affects the balance of things around it. And that is the beauty of it. Some say balance, some chakra, some say yin and yang or even the spirit of god. All different terms for the same process of finding balance.



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