Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. A group of American scientists just reported in the journal cellWhich makes some of us true magnets, attracting swarms of vampire buzzards. The researchers tested the mosquito’s response to human odor and identified the people who were particularly attractive to them.
Chemical analyzes have shown that people’s skin is very attractive to mosquitoes that produce More carboxylic acids. When scientists bred mutant mosquitoes that lack the chemoreceptors Ir8a, Ir25a, or Ir76b, the animals had serious problems detecting human odor, but they retained the ability to distinguish between highly attractive and vulnerable humans. This indicates that mosquitoes have some redundant human detection systems in place.
Mosquito magnetospheres have produced significantly more than three carboxylic acids—penta-, hepta- and non-adecanoic acids—and 10 unspecified compounds that belong to the same class. The ratio of these and other acids to each other varied greatly in the people who attracted the mosquitoes. This means that there may be more than one way in which mosquitoes find some people very attractive.
The study authors did not identify compounds that make some people less attractive to mosquitoes. However, they state that studies conducted nearly a dozen years ago have demonstrated the presence of compounds, the greatest number of which occur in humans, that are not very attractive to mosquitoes. In this context, they noted that the skin of one of the participants in the current study released a lot of carboxylic acids, but that person did not attract mosquitoes. Therefore, it is possible that the subject also released some natural repellents. However, this issue has not been investigated.
It is also worth noting that previous studies show that mosquitoes respond to monozygotic twins in a more similar manner than fraternal twins, suggesting that there is a strong genetic component in attracting mosquitoes to humans.
Recent research is in line with previous findings that people and mice infected with malaria alter skin scent chemistry, attract mosquitoes and facilitate transmission of the malaria plague.
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