We finally know why some people get bitten by mosquitoes more than others


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There is always one friend or family member who gets ruined on camping trips by mosquito bites. While it seems like a cruel and unusual punishment that the gods inflicted on the unlucky victims, scientists say they finally have a reason for how and why mosquitoes seem to pick their targets.

A group of researchers in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller University published the results in cell magazine On October 18th he explains why some people are mosquito magnets. They hoped their research would prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

Researchers have found that different skin compounds actually attract the types of mosquitoes most common to spread the viruses that cause dengue, yellow fever and Zika, specifically known as Aedes aegypti mosquitoes;

64 volunteers wore nylon sleeves and were exposed to a group of mosquitoes in a glass room on their arms for six hours during the study period. The researchers found that the attractiveness of volunteers to mosquitoes varies greatly.

After the mosquitoes were released and then collected, the researchers were able to find the mosquito magnet thanks to the nylon sleeves the study participants wore.

“Samples from the most attractive volunteers were four times more attractive to mosquitoes than those from the next most attractive volunteer – and more than 100 times more attractive than those from two less attractive people,” the researchers noted.

“We had no preconceived notions about what we would find,” said study leader Leslie Foshall. The scientists said they found that those who attracted more mosquitoes had higher levels of carboxylic acid on their skin.

Carboxylic acids are large molecules that contain bacteria that attract blood-thirsty insects.

Researchers say more is needed to understand why carboxylic acid makes mosquitoes so hungry, but other factors such as body temperature influence this phenomenon.

The scientists also found that mosquitoes actually use molecules called co-receptors to help detect odors on human skin.

“The researchers conducted a set of experiments where they removed these common receptors in different groups of mosquitoes. For three of the common receptors, removing each reduced the general interest of mosquitoes in human odors. However, mosquitoes can still distinguish between the most and least attractive people.”

The researchers said they cannot reduce the levels of carboxylic acids found in people’s skin, and it appears that mosquito attractiveness is not a trait that is likely to go away.

“Some of the subjects have been in the study for several years, and we saw that if they were a mosquito magnet, they would still be a mosquito magnet,” Dr. Written by Maria Elena de Obaldia, Research Fellow. “A lot of things about the subject or his behaviors could have changed during that time, but this was a very stable characteristic of the person.”

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