A baby's sense of smell is formed by what his or her mother ate and drank during pregnancy.
It is well known that what an expectant mother consumes will affect what her child will like, reports the Telegraph.
But now a study on mice has found why this is the case, and how it affects the physical development of the smelling system.
Exposure to certain odours triggers certain glomeruli - spherical structures in the olfactory bulb that relay smell messages from the nasal cavity to the brain - to grow rather than others.
Among the most powerful odours that a foetus will experience in the womb is that of its own mother.
Dr Josephine Todrank said that the development process is critical because it enables the young to smell their own mothers when they are born.
The research is published (WED) in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society B.