Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Evolution of Olfactory and Vomeronasal Systems

  • Alino Martínez-Marcos
  • Mimi Halpern
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_3135


 vomeronasal organ; Vomeronasal system (Accessory Olfactory system); Accessory olfactory system


The olfactory and  vomeronasal systems (Accessory olfactory system) are the main nasal chemosensory systems in vertebrates. Both are composed of chemosensory epithelia, olfactory bulbs and olfactory- and vomeronasal-recipient (Vomeronasal-amygdala) structures in the basal telencephalon. The  olfactory system is present in virtually all major groups of vertebrates, whereas the vomeronasal system is thought to first appear in amphibians.


Structure of the Olfactory and Vomeronasal Systems

The olfactory and vomeronasal systems are the primary nasal chemosensory systems in vertebrates. The olfactory system is sensitive to volatile airborne odorants, whereas the vomeronasal system is primarily sensitive to non-volatile molecules or volatile molecules bound to carrier (usually protein) molecules such as  pheromones [1,2,3].

Among vertebrates, the olfactory and...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alino Martínez-Marcos
    • 1
  • Mimi Halpern
    • 1
  1. 1.Facultad de Medicina and Centro Regional de Investigaciones Biomédicas (CRIB) Universidad de Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain