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Researchers discover odor receptor genes in fruit flies

In a finding with profound implications for controlling insect pests that spread disease and cause crop blights, scientists at Yale have identified 16 odor receptor genes in fruit flies. Although researchers had searched for at least 15 years, this is the first time anyone identified those genes in insects. “The reason people have looked so long is that insect olfaction is tremendously important in the real world,” said John R. Carlson, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale, and leader of the study. The finding, reported in the February issue of Neuron, could help scientists develop agents that would disrupt insects’ ability to smell, making it harder for them to...

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