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Mice use specialized neurons to detect carbon dioxide in the air
Date:8/16/2007

accuracy of the animals' response became random. Statistical analysis fixed the threshold for detection at about six-hundredths of a percent, just above the average atmospheric level.

Mombaerts cautions that scientists still do not know if the GC-D enzyme is responsible for detecting carbon dioxide. "GC-D is a marker for the neurons that have specific carbon dioxide sensitivity," Mombaerts says. "At this time, we have not shown that the marker is mechanistically involved in sensory perception of carbon dioxide." The research does, however, suggest that scientists need to be on the lookout for behavioral changes in animals as carbon dioxide levels increase in the atmosphere, since, at some point increased levels may be detectable by animals, Mombaerts says.

"Animals may adapt to this gradual and persistent increase. Alternatively, the change may induce behavioral changes, such as an increase in irritability and aggression or a decrease in fertility," he says.


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Contact: Zach Veilleux
Zach.Veilleux@rockefeller.edu
212-327-8982
Rockefeller University
Source:Eurekalert

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