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In these animals, genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)—part of the immune system—produce unique odors; when another animal gets a whiff, they’re either attracted or repelled based on immune compatibility.
Simply by using their sense of smell, mice end up choosing mates with MHC types that are not too similar, yet not too different, from their own, as a way to avoid inbreeding and to make their offspring evolutionarily as strong as possible.
Animals secrete pheromones, a distinct cocktail of chemicals that, in very small doses, have the power to influence how those animals respond to one another.
These pheromones shape the social and sexual lives of some creatures, like invertebrates, insects and rodents, by attracting them towards evolutionarily compatible partners, which are desirable because they lead to better offspring.
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“The underlying theory is that you somehow select immune compatibility in a mate,” says Noam Sobel, an expert in olfaction and professor of neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
The human version of the MHC, called the human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, is also linked to a large number of olfactory receptors and appears to be particularly important for how we smell other people.
Smell Dating, then, is a throwback—a way to connect us, at long last, with our most basic, biological mating cues.
In the game of “which sense would you most be willing to lose? But evolutionarily, smell is one of the most important senses.The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.