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See detailOlfactory systems in mate recognition and sexual behavior.
Keller, Matthieu; Pillon, Delphine; Bakker, Julie ULg

in Vitamins and Hormones (2010), 83

Olfactory signals play an important role so that breeding efforts are synchronized with appropriate social and environmental circumstances. In this context, the mammalian olfactory system is characterized ... [more ▼]

Olfactory signals play an important role so that breeding efforts are synchronized with appropriate social and environmental circumstances. In this context, the mammalian olfactory system is characterized by the existence of several olfactory subsystems that have evolved to process olfactory information. While the vomeronasal (or accessory) olfactory system is usually conceived as being involved in the processing of pheromonal signals due to its close connections with the reproductive hypothalamus, the main olfactory system is, by contrast, considered as a general analyzer of volatile chemosignals, especially those that are used for the social identification of conspecifics. In fact, several recent sets of experiments suggest that both the main and accessory olfactory systems have the ability to process partly overlapping pheromonal chemosignals and that both systems converge at a downstream level of pheromonal processing. As a consequence, both systems have the ability to support complimentary aspects in mate discrimination and sexual behavior. However, the relative roles played by these systems and their interactions are at present still far from being understood. [less ▲]

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