A new study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute says that our odor-sensing nerve cells are not all wired in the same way.
The researchers developed a new virus-based technique for highlighting individual nerve pathways, then applied it to the olfactory systems of mice.
They found that mouse olfactory neurons send signals to two key processing regions of the brain in ways that differ significantly from one mouse to another - a diversity that is likely to be found in humans, too.
"This shows that we still have a lot to learn about olfactory perception and how the brain is wired in general," said Kristin Baldwin, an assistant professor at Scripps Research and senior author of the study.
The study has been published online on March 30, 2011, by the journal Nature.