Sense of smell differs among animals, with some having keener abilities than others, according to a new study whose authors name the top 10 animals with the most genes devoted to smelling.
The study, published in the journal Genome Research, highlights how an animal's genetic makeup can underlie its ability to distinguish different odors.
Guinea pigs, with 796 olfactory receptor (OR) genes, landed in the No. 10 spot, according to lead author Yoshihito Niimura of the University of Tokyo's Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, and colleagues Atsushi Matsui and Kazushige Touhara.
Humans surprisingly didn't rank too shabbily, winding up with a number 13 placement (396 OR genes) just behind tree shrews (563) and rabbits (768).
"In general, primates have fewer numbers of OR genes than other non-primate mammals, possibly because primates have a well-developed visual sense," Niimura told Discovery News. "We humans actually have a larger repertoire of OR genes than some other primates."