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Snot has the power to alter scents

Mice studies show sense of smell can be modified by mucus

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5:04pm, November 30, 2010

A rose sniffed through a snotty nose may not smell so sweet. Enzymes in mice’s nasal mucus transform certain scents before the nose can detect them, a new study finds. The results, published December 1 in the Journal of Neuroscience, show that lowly mucus may feature prominently in the sense of smell.

“It is completely unexpected that snot would play a potential role in changing how we perceive odors,” says neuroscientist Leslie Vosshall at Rockefeller University in New York City. “Most people and most scientists pay no attention at all to mucus.”

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