College of Natural Resources & Sciences
Vertebrates use proteins expressed in the sensory cells of the nasal cavity to detect odors and chemical signals. The study aimed to characterize the olfactory receptors (ORs) in the California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus). We used standard molecular genetics techniques (PCR and cloning) to isolate 15 partial sequences of ORs from salamander olfactory tissue. We used phylogenetic reconstruction to show that the salamander ORs we isolated grouped with the gamma family of ORs found in many other vertebrates. Our preliminary results suggest that this species has a large and diverse OR family, a finding consistent with their ecological reliance on chemical communication.