The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004

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.


To cite this section
MLA style: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Tue. 5 Dec 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Streams during Nobel Week

Watch the 2023 Nobel Prize lectures, the Nobel Prize Concert, Nobel Week Dialogue, the prize award ceremonies in Oslo and Stockholm and Nobel Peace Prize Forum here at
Watch lectures and award ceremonies

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.