New document published in The quarterly review of biologyentitled Taste and Smell: Unifying Chemosensory Theory proposes the unification of all chemosensory modalities in one sense, moving towards an interconnected perspective on the gradual processes by which a wide variety of chemicals have become crucial signals for communication between and within cells, organs and organisms in a wide variety of environmental conditions. Thus, the article envisages a break with what emerges as one of the most deeply ingrained biases for confirmation in the scientific literature: the distinction between taste (taste) and smell (smell).

Authors Ernesto Molo, Ferdinando Boero, Josep Penuelas, Angelo Fontana, Mary J. Garson, Vassilios Russis, Carlo Serrano, Gianluca Polezé, Alberto Maria Cataneo, and Vayan Mudianta, Gregory Genta-Juve, Orazio Talialatella-Scaend Apino, Giovanni Faend and Michael T. Giselin offer a wealth of evidence that is not exactly inconsistent. between smell and taste, suggesting that the spatial, molecular, anatomical, and neurophysiological criteria commonly considered to separate the “a priori” of the two chemical senses are contradictory and overly anthropomorphic.

“We argue that anthropomorphic biases have encouraged the neglect of key processes shaping environmental and evolutionary scenarios, thus deeply hampering our research efforts to better understand the evolution of chemosensation, especially during the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life. Most importantly, the authors suggest that the intellectual habit of distinguishing between the two sensory modalities favored biased patterns of thinking in the design and interpretation of experiments, in the classification of chemosensory genes. and receptors in morphological and zoological nomenclature.While the taste-smell distinction fits the human condition quite well, the authors argue that biologists should strictly include information from the study of the diversity of living organisms and their ecological interactions when approaching the complex topic of the evolution of chi communication and especially in the design of experimental protocols.

Thus, the authors propose the unification of all chemosensory modalities within a comprehensive theoretical framework that opposes the current nomenclature. Our vision is that in nature there is no taste and smell, no chemishta and vomerolfaction, but a huge and blurred variety of ways of chemical communication, which can be collectively called “chemosensation”, which always begins with interactions between ligands and receptors, two chemical units that occur in enormous structural diversity in nature, ”they write.

“The time has come to abandon the differentiation between chemical senses and begin to ask better questions about the complex, nuanced and interconnected ways in which a huge variety of chemicals have become signals essential to survival,” the authors write.

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More information:
Ernesto Molo et al., Taste and Smell: Unifying Chemosensory Theory, The quarterly review of biology (2022). DOI: 10.1086 / 720097

Provided by the University of Chicago

Quote: Should all chemosensory modalities be united in one sense? (2022, May 20) extracted on May 20, 2022 from

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