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Future Events > Behaviour Meets Biochemistry: Animals Making Sense of Molecules Making Scents

Behaviour Meets Biochemistry: Animals Making Sense of Molecules Making Scents

18—20 February 2014

Charles Darwin House, London, UK

A joint Biochemical Society / Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Focused Meeting


Meeting background

There has been a persistent awareness of the role of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) in control of individuality signalling and mate compatibility assessment, research over the past few years  has  revealed  that  there  are  other  highly  polymorphic  gene  clusters  in  the  mammalian genome, encoding proteins that mediate chemical communication between individuals, either as pheromone  binding  proteins  or  as  semiochemicals  in  their  own  right. This  meeting  will  bring  together experts  in  protein  chemistry  and  evolution  with  behavioural  ecologists,  and  will  emphasise  thebiochemistry/behaviour axis.

Such a meeting is timely, because there has been and increasingly detailed understanding of these gene  clusters,  their  products  and  the  manifestation  of  chemical  signals,  through  to  the neurological circuits that connect pheromone chemistry to complex behavioural outputs.




  • Genome plasticity and evolution of multigene clusters
  • Genotype-phenotype relationships and sex dependent expression
  • Structure:function relationships in MUPs
  • Relationship between multigene clusters and MHC
  • Role of protein profiles and individual proteins
  • Influence of MUPs on mate choice, maintenance of heterozygosity, aggression signalling
  • Role of MUPs in maintenance of species barriers
  • Limitations and strengths of inbred versus wild rodents
  • Multigene/communication proteins in species other than rats and mice
  • Neurobiology of protein pheromones, VNO and MO 


Proceedings have been published in Biochemical Society Transactions.


The winner of the Biochemical Society poster prize was:

Victoria Lee, University of Liverpool, UK - The urinary proteins of Mus spicilegus 

The winner of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Poster prize was: