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The Role of Olfactory Genes in the Expression of Rodent Paternal Care Behavior

by 1,2,3
1
College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, P. O. Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia
2
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Sciences, James Cook University, P. O. Box 6811, Cairns, QLD 4870, Australia
3
School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
Genes 2020, 11(3), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030292
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 3 March 2020 / Accepted: 5 March 2020 / Published: 10 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Olfaction: From Genes to Behavior)
Olfaction is the dominant sensory modality in rodents, and is crucial for regulating social behaviors, including parental care. Paternal care is rare in rodents, but can have significant consequences for offspring fitness, suggesting a need to understand the factors that regulate its expression. Pup-related odor cues are critical for the onset and maintenance of paternal care. Here, I consider the role of olfaction in the expression of paternal care in rodents. The medial preoptic area shares neural projections with the olfactory and accessory olfactory bulbs, which are responsible for the interpretation of olfactory cues detected by the main olfactory and vomeronasal systems. The olfactory, trace amine, membrane-spanning 4-pass A, vomeronasal 1, vomeronasal 2 and formyl peptide receptors are all involved in olfactory detection. I highlight the roles that 10 olfactory genes play in the expression of direct paternal care behaviors, acknowledging that this list is not exhaustive. Many of these genes modulate parental aggression towards intruders, and facilitate the recognition and discrimination of pups in general. Much of our understanding comes from studies on non-naturally paternal laboratory rodents. Future studies should explore what role these genes play in the regulation and expression of paternal care in naturally biparental species. View Full-Text
Keywords: discrimination; main olfactory system; olfaction; paternal care; recognition; vomeronasal system discrimination; main olfactory system; olfaction; paternal care; recognition; vomeronasal system
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rymer, T.L. The Role of Olfactory Genes in the Expression of Rodent Paternal Care Behavior. Genes 2020, 11, 292. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030292

AMA Style

Rymer TL. The Role of Olfactory Genes in the Expression of Rodent Paternal Care Behavior. Genes. 2020; 11(3):292. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030292

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rymer, Tasmin L. 2020. "The Role of Olfactory Genes in the Expression of Rodent Paternal Care Behavior" Genes 11, no. 3: 292. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11030292

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