By: Adeline B.
Throughout history, humans have made it a rule of thumb to stay away from dead things. During an experiment involving decomposing duckweed, one graduate school student may have found out why. When dead plants and animals decompose, their proteins break down, producing pungent molecules known as cadaverine and putrescine. She proposes humans and some animals have developed specific olfactory receptor proteins that, when bonded to cadaverine or another foul-smelling molecule, send signals to our brains evoking those strong negative reactions. (Read more…)