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The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004
 

Combinatorial receptor codes

The odorant receptor family is used in a combinatorial manner to detect odorants and encode their unique identities. Different odorants are detected by different combinations of receptors and thus have different receptor codes. These codes are translated by the brain into diverse odour perceptions.

The immense number of potential receptor combinations is the basis for our ability to distinguish and form memories of more than 10,000 different odorants.

codes
Nobel Poster from the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, web adapted by Nobel Web


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