New Publication: Vomeronasal and Olfactory Structures in Bats Revealed by DiceCT Clarify Genetic Evidence of Function

3D Bat Vomeronasal Organs
Coronal sections of the posterior region of the nasal cavity comparing diceCT scans and 3D reconstructions in bats (frontoturbinal is light green; interturbinals are dark green, ethmoturbinal I is yellow; ethmoturbinal II is light blue; and ethmoturbinal III is teal; see publication for abbreviations.)

“Bats demonstrate one of the most impressive stories of independent loss of the vomeronasal organ, a specialized nasal pheromone-sensing system in mammals. We were surprised to learn of a loss-of-function mutation in a vomeronasal-specific gene within a clade of Caribbean nectar-feeding bats, as many of their mainland relatives maintain function of the gene and organ—but the morphology was not known for this clade. DiceCT permitted us to peek inside the heads of these bats and characterize the nasal soft tissues, including the first 3D reconstruction of a vomeronasal organ, a structure only thought visible through histology. We discovered that Caribbean nectarivorous bats indeed have lost or reduced the vomeronasal organ and possess more elaborate olfactory turbinals. Complete loss of morphology likely occurred prior to complete genetic loss of function revealing a deeper understanding of the process of vestigalization.”

– co-lead authors, Laurel Yohe (@) & Simone Hoffmann (@)

Head over to Frontiers in Neuroanatomy to read the pub and see more research on Twitter!

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