Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Genome Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Badges Research news

Recognizing Mom's scent

William Wells

Genome Biology 2000, 1:spotlight-20000915-02  doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20000915-02

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:15 September 2000

© 2000 BioMed Central Ltd

Research news

Proteins of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are involved in cell-cell recognition: they bind and present antigens in the immune system. But, at least in mice, they are also involved in odor-based recognition between individuals. Mice tend to mate with MHC-dissimilar mice (to maintain MHC diversity) and nest with MHC-similar mice. In the September 12 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Yamazaki et al. report that mothers recognize and preferentially retrieve MHC-similar pups, and that pups placed in a maze head for bedding soaked in the urine from an MHC-similar adult mouse (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2000, 97:10500-10502). The latter effect is partially, but not completely reversed by foster parenting, suggesting that some part of the response may be learned prenatally or by self-referral.


  1. Population biology of antigen presentation by MHC class I molecules.

    PubMed Abstract OpenURL

  2. Mating patterns in seminatural populations of mice influenced by MHC genotype.

    PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  3. Communal nesting patterns in mice implicate MHC genes in kin recognition.

    PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text OpenURL

  4. [] webcite

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences