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Anat Rec (Hoboken) September 1, 2013; 296 (9): 1453-61.

Exotic models may offer unique opportunities to decipher specific scientific question: the case of Xenopus olfactory system.

The fact that olfactory systems are highly conserved in all animal species from insects to mammals allow the generalization of findings from one species to another. Most of our knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the olfactory system comes from data obtained in a very limited number of biological models such as rodents, Zebrafish, Drosophila, and a worm, Caenorhabditis elegans. These models have proved useful to answer most questions in the field of olfaction, and thus concentrating on these few models appear to be a pragmatic strategy. However, the diversity of the organization and physiology of the olfactory system amongst phyla appear to be greater than generally assumed and the four models alone may not be sufficient to address all the questions arising from the study of olfaction. In this article, we will illustrate the idea that we should take advantage of biological diversity to address specific scientific questions and will show that the Xenopus olfactory system is a very good model to investigate: first, olfaction in aerial versus aquatic conditions and second, mechanisms underlying postnatal reorganization of the olfactory system especially those controlled by tyroxine hormone.

PubMed ID: 23904180
Article link: Anat Rec (Hoboken)

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gnao1

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