News of the WeekNeurobiology

Fruit Fly Odor Receptors Found

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1239
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1239a

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After nearly 10 years of searching, researchers have identified the first odor receptors in an insect, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The discovery will be a boon to neurobiologists who hope to use the information to probe the more complex workings of the mammalian brain, and it may have practical implications as well. It might be possible to use the Drosophila odor receptor genes to track down those of insects that damage crops or transmit human diseases. Having those receptors in hand should make it much easier to identify compounds that interfere with the insects' ability to detect odors and might therefore be used in insect control.