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Scientists learn why human blood attracts mosquitoes


A team of US scientists have uncovered compounds in human blood that attract mosquitoes. This could pave the way for drugs that could hide our attractive taste.

Mosquito blood-sucking habits are the deadliest animals on the planet for humans, with about 500,000 deaths each year from diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever.

Veronica Jove, one of the principal investigators of the study at Rockefeller University in New York City, said: .. “

Only female mosquitoes eat the blood needed for the egg to grow, but survive primarily in the nectar.

Researchers used genetically modified women to find out which neurons fired when they tasted the blood.

They switched from honey supply mode to blood supply mode by tricking mosquitoes into providing a mixture of four compounds developed to mimic the flavor of blood.

It contained glucose, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a compound that powers cells.

When a nerve cell is activated, the fluorescent tag of the genetically modified insect glows, allowing researchers to track which nerve cell was lit when a variety of meals were served.

Only one subset of neurons was activated by blood containing both real blood and a synthetic mixture of researchers.

The team believes that research could ultimately lead to oral mosquito repellents that interfere with the taste of their blood.

The study was published in the journal Neuron..

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