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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Olfactory discrimination ability for aliphatic esters in squirrel monkeys and humans.

Using a behavioral paradigm designed to simulate olfactory-guided foraging, the ability of five squirrel monkeys to distinguish iso-amyl acetate from n- and iso-forms of other acetic esters (ethyl acetate to decyl acetate) and from other esters carrying the iso-amyl group (iso-amyl propionate to iso-amyl capronate) was investigated. We found (i) that all five animals were clearly able to discriminate between all odor pairs tested; (ii) a significant negative correlation between discrimination performance and structural similarity of odorants in terms of differences in carbon chain length of both the aliphatic alcohol group and the aliphatic acid group of the esters; and (iii) that iso- and n-amyl acetate were perceived as qualitatively similar despite different steric conformation. Using a triple-forced choice procedure, 20 human subjects were tested on the same tasks in parallel and showed a very similar pattern of discrimination performance compared with the squirrel monkeys. Thus, the results of this study provide evidence of well-developed olfactory discrimination ability in squirrel monkeys for aliphatic esters and support the assumption that human and non-human primates may share common principles of odor quality perception.[1]


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