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Topics: Primate, Olfactory bulb, Vomeronasal organ Pages: 1 (1246 words) Published: April 15, 2015
Topic 6: Mammalian Pheromones

Abstract
A pheromone is a chemical signal which is released by one
animal and received by another, which induce a species
specific reaction. Pheromones are detected via chemosensory
systems known as the Vomeronasal Organ (VNO). Within a
wide range of mammals the VNO is used to elicit a generalized sexual response, primarily affecting the reproductive tract. This is seen in most terrestrial mammals who have adapted to
sensing volatile chemical signals; the Mouse displays the
general VNO function. Additionally, some mammalian species
have adapted the ability to respond to a variety of pheromonal signals which can alter their physiological behavior. Mice can also respond to chemo-signals from animals within and
outside their species, such as predators. This specialized VNO function can mediate long term physiological responses, in
contrast to the main olfactory system (MOS) which mediates
short term physiological responses. Furthermore, certain
mammalian species display a vestigial VNO in response to
environmental adaptations, which is caused by the loss of the TRPC2 gene responsible for VNO function. Within marine
mammals, the function of the VNO is related to their degree of aquatic specialization. Likewise, the loss of a functional VNO has also evolved in certain species of primates due to the
reliance on visual and auditory cues for reproductive
communication. This presentation explores the various roles of the VNO within different mammalian species, as well as the
importance of the TRPC2 gene necessary in VNO function.

Introduction
Signal transduction in the Vomeronasal organ:
Sensory neurons in Vomeronasal Organ

Accessory Olfactory Bulb

Vomeronasal Amydala

The Mammalian Vomeronasal Organ: Beyond Attracting A Mate
The Question
How does the Vomeronasal System compare among
various mammals?
What is the significance of the TRPC2 gene in
mammals?

Mouse:
•How can the rodent vomeronasal system...

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wallaby
He J., Ma L., Kim S.S., Schwartz J., Santilli M., Wood C., Durnin M.H., Yu C.R. (2010) Distinct Signals Conveyed by Pheromone
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Kylokawa, Y., Kodama, Y., Kubota, T., Takechu, Y., Takechu, Y., & Mori, Y. (2013). Alarm pheromone is detected by the vomeronasal
organ in male rats
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evolution
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Society , 85, 281-317
Pageat, P., & Gaultier, E. (2003). Current research in canine and feline pheromones. Elsevier Science, 33(2003), 187-211.
Schneider N.Y., Fletcher T.P., Shaw G., Renfree M. B. (2008) The vomeronasal organ of the tammar wallaby. Journal of Anatomy.
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