Research Finding Study shows mosquitoes are 'lured by body odour genes'

The study published in Plos One suggests that the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes could be down to genes that control our body odour.

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play (BBC)
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A new study has shown that mosquitoes are infact lured by body odour genes.

According to the study published in Plos One and reported by BBC, the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes could be down to genes that control our body odour.

The research tested 18 pairs of identical and 19 non-identical twins to see how attractive they were to mosquitoes. Identical twins were more likely to have similar levels of attractiveness, suggesting shared genetic factors were at play.

Experts say the results must now be assessed in larger trials.

In a series of experiments each twin placed one hand at an end of a Y-shaped wind tunnel as air was pumped through, carrying odour with it. Swarms of mosquitoes were then released and moved towards or away from each twin's hand.

In the case of identical twins, who share much of their genetic material, there was an even distribution of mosquitoes in both sections suggesting the insects did not prefer the odour of one hand more than the other.

But results for the non identical twins, who share fewer genes, were more varied.

Based on this, researchers suggest attractiveness to mosquitoes could be caused by inherited body odour genes. The next step then is to uncover which specific genes may be involved.

This is currently underway.

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