NEW YORK, March 29 – Scientists have known for decades that mosquitoes are attracted to the lactic acid contained in human sweat, but in the days before advanced genetics, the exact mechanism had remained a mystery.
a Florida International University research team discovered the olfactory receptor, which enables the disease-trapping insects to increase our odor – and how to turn it off.
They published their work on the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, for which it is known to spread deadly diseases such as Zika, Dengue and Yellow Fever in the journal Current Biology yesterday
The team around the FIU biologist Matthew DeGennaro identified the guilty receptor as Ionotropic Receptor 8a or simply IR8a. through an elimination process that began in 2013, when DeGennaro created the world's first mutant mosquito, which removed a gene to investigate how its absence affected the insect.
Invested with invest As a result of IR8a, DeGennaro's PhD student Joshua Raji first conducted an exposure experiment with his own arm and found that the mutant mosquitoes were significantly less attracted to wild than wild.
The result was confirmed by tests on 14 other volunteers.
19659008] "People have been looking for a receptor for lactic acid since the 1960s," DeGennaro told AFP.
The results could provide a roadmap for a new generation of attractants that lure adult specimens into population control traps. Advanced repellents that make humans invisible to mosquitoes – though this could be a long way off.
"It will take years, but we are definitely one step closer," said DeGennaro. – AFP