The antennal olfactory pathway in insects changes profoundly during postembryonic development. The immature larval system gives way to the adult pathway1-5, which is capable of detecting and processing information about odors that have behavioral significance for the adult. Notable among these important odors are the sexual pheromones, released by an insect to attract a receptive mating partner of the same species. Recent research efforts in several laboratories have focused on the pheromone-processing subsystem of the olfactory pathway of male moths and cockroaches, which controls orientation toward a female 'calling' for a mate by releasing pheromone. We have probed this subsystem to explore several aspects of neural development, asking for example how sensory cells grow to and make appropriate connections with target cells in the maturing brain.
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