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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.
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.
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.
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?