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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Super-sniffer mice can be trained to detect the bombs

Rats are known as rodents often sniff out food or crumbs. Now a study conducted to hone the rats olfactory abilities so can detect mines. The discovery of super-sniffer mice is also expected to be detect dangerous diseases. 
(Illustrated: mouse) Super-sniffer mice can be trained to detect the bombs. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cEcVX)
The researchers at Hunter College, University of New York City, created the mice that can be tuned and have different levels of sensitivity to any odors. The nature of the actual olfactory receptors have been discovered in 1991. But now it is possible olfactory system can be used on living beings. 

Basically, the mammalian nose contains a set of sensory neurons. Each is equipped with a single chemical sensors called receptors that can detect a specific odor. According to the researchers, mice like humans, each neuron pick just one receptor. Collectively, neurons select equalization receptor, so that each of the thousands of different receptors represented around 0.1% of the neurons.
Researchers have honed a mouse’s sense of smell, so it can be tuned to detect chosen odours. Red fluorescence (left) represents super-sniffer receptors connecting to the brain in the mouse olfactory system while the green fluorescence marks all other odor receptor populations. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cEeUj)
In an attempt to understand the mechanisms of these neurons is used to select a particular receptor. Paul Feinstein, a professor of biological sciences at Hunter Collage, tinkering with the genome of mice.

He introduced the DNA to olfactory receptor genes via injection into the nucleus of the fertilized egg. It also adds an extra string to the DNA gene sequence to see if it will change the probability of the selected genes. After several attempts, he found an string work as the extra DNA that results in a series of mice have "super olfactory."

They have increased the number of neurons expressing the receptor is selected, which has a sweet smell similar to jasmine. The researchers tested the rodents’ amplified sense of smell, by using fluorescent imaging to trace the activation of the amplified odour receptor in response to the receptor's corresponding odour.
This graphic summarises MouSensors. Scientists have increased the total number of neurons expressing specific mouse or human smell receptors  in the nose of a mouse by genetically controlling specific genes. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1cEeUj)
This test provides visual confirmation that the receptors are functional and present in larger quantities than others. In the second behavioral test, the animals are trained to avoid a disgusting smell known to bind the transgenic receptors.

"The animals could smell the odour better because of the increased presence of the receptor," said Dr D'Hulst as reported by the Daily Mail on Friday, July 8, 2016.

The team plans to commercialize the technology and has set up a company called MouSensor. And Fernstein's Lab has received funding from the US Department of Defense to develop the super-sniffer mice, so that it can be trained to detect TNT and potentially find the land mines. This could mean reducing the number of soldiers and civilians who have to take the risk of sacrificing their lifes to clear mines or navigating a mine fields. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DAILY MAIL]
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