These genetic parts produce human olfactory receptors which are the largest gene family in the human genome. Olfactory receptor proteins offer sensitive and specific detection of biological agents from the organic functional groups, lipids, sugars, nucleotides, and proteins (based on biology detecting biology) that are produced from viruses, bacteria, spores, and other biological systems. This form of chemoreception can improve the narrow range of current inorganic hardware sensors and limit high false positive/negative rates because using a broad range of encoded genes (even from different species) will specifically detect almost any biological agent. Olfactory receptor proteins are encoded from only hundreds of genetic sequences but humans are capable of determining over 1 trillion smells suggesting that: 1) all odorants can be detected via biological means, and 2) combinations and multiplexing of firing from individual neurons with specific olfactory receptors creates a fingerprint of individual odors. Introducing genetic sequences of olfactory receptors from across the animal kingdom will provide the opportunity to detect a larger library of aerosolized materials.
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY AND LIFE SCIENCE
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