DOI: 10.1002/ar.25290 ISSN: 1932-8486

An updated synthesis of and outstanding questions in the olfactory and vomeronasal systems in bats: Genetics asks questions only anatomy can answer

Laurel R. Yohe, Nicholas T. Krell
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Histology
  • Biotechnology
  • Anatomy


The extensive diversity observed in bat nasal chemosensory systems has been well‐documented at the histological level. Understanding how this diversity evolved and developing hypotheses as to why particular patterns exist require a phylogenetic perspective, which was first outlined in the work of anatomist Kunwar Bhatnagar. With the onset of genetics and genomics, it might be assumed that the puzzling patterns observed in the morphological data have been clarified. However, there is still a widespread mismatch of genetic and morphological correlations among bat chemosensory systems. Novel genomic evidence has set up new avenues to explore that demand more evidence from anatomical structures. Here, we outline the progress that has been made in both morphological and molecular studies on the olfactory and vomeronasal systems in bats since the work of Bhatnagar. Genomic data of olfactory and vomeronasal receptors demonstrate the strong need for further morphological sampling, with a particular focus on receiving brain regions, glands, and ducts.

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