Mosquitoes lured by body odour

By Efrosini Costa

Mosquitoes lured by body odour
Mosquitoes driving you nuts? Their motivation for biting may be put down to one thing: body odour.

Ever wondered why you always seem to be the one who gets the most mosquito bites?

Well, a new study has shown promising results for a possible answer: body odour.

More specifically it could be put down to the genes that control our body odour.

Pairs of identical and non-identical twins were tested to see how attractive to mosquitoes they were.

Identical twins were more likely to have similar levels of attractiveness – suggesting shared genetic factors could be at play.

Published in the journal Plus One, the “intriguing results” should now be assessed in larger trials, experts have said.

It seem its not just us that have tried to pin down the reasons that drive mosquitoes to bite. Scientists have long looked for the motivations that cause the insects to be lured to their victims.

Another anecdotal report also suggested some relatives were more likely to be bitten at similar rates.

Researchers from the US and the UK wanted to substantiate the claim and whether or not genes were a factor in this phenomenon.

To test the theory they enlisted 18 identical and 19 non-identical pairs of twins in the pilot study.

Each twin was asked to place one hand at the end of a Y-shaped wind tunnel as air was pumped through, carrying odour with it. Swarms of mosquitoes were then released into the tubes and moved toward or away from the hands.

In the case of identical twins, who share the same genetic material, there was an even distribution of mosquitoes in each section.

Conversely, the results for non-identical twins, who share less genetic material, were more varied.

The trials suggest attractiveness to mosquitoes could be caused by inherited body odour genes.

Now all thats left to do is uncover which specific genes may be involved.


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