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Deconstructing the mouse olfactory percept through an olfactory ethological atlas

By Diogo Manoel, Melanie Makhlouf, Charles J. Arayata, Abbirami Sathappan, Sahar Da'as, Doua Abdelrahman, Senthil Selvaraj, Reem Hasnah, Joel Drewery Mainland, Richard C. Gerkin, Luis R Saraiva

Posted 10 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.09.374637

Odor perception in non-humans is poorly understood. Here, we generated the most comprehensive murine olfactory ethological atlas to date, consisting of behavioral responses to a diverse panel of 73 odorants, including 12 at multiple concentrations. These data revealed that the mouse behavior is incredibly diverse, and changes in response to odor identity and intensity. Using only behavioral responses, ~30% of the 73 odorants could be identified with high accuracy (>96%) by a trained classifier. Mouse behavior occupied a low-dimensional space, consistent with analyses of human olfactory perception. While mouse olfactory behavior is difficult to predict from the corresponding human olfactory percept, three fundamental properties are shared: odor valence is the primary axis of olfactory perception; the physicochemical properties of odorants can predict the olfactory percept; and odorant concentration quantitatively and qualitatively impacts olfactory perception. These results provide a template for future comparative studies of olfactory percepts among species. ### Competing Interest Statement J.D.M. receives research funding from Google Research, Procter & Gamble, was on the scientific advisory board of Aromyx, and received compensation for these activities. R.C.G. receives research funding from Google Research, The Taylor Corporation, and Climax Foods. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. All other authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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