Mystery of mosquitoes’ ability to find humans solved

Scientists investigating the ability of mosquitoes to detect human odor discovered that they, unlike other animals, have a large number of different olfactory receptors in each neuron.

No matter how much precautions are taken, especially in the summer months, mosquitoes can find a way to bite people.

In a new paper published yesterday in the scientific journal Cell, scientists revealed the mechanism behind mosquitoes’ ability to detect humans.

According to the researchers, mosquitoes can locate their new food by tracking body odor, the mixture of heat and carbon dioxide emitted by humans. While most animals have a specific set of neurons that can detect all types of odors, mosquitoes can smell in more than one way.

“Compared to other animals, we found significant differences in the way mosquitoes perceive the odor they encounter,” said Meg Younger, Assistant Professor of Biology at Boston University, of the research team. he speaks.

Even with their olfactory receptors removed, they still detect human scent.

The researchers found that mosquitoes were somehow able to detect humans, even after removing the entire family of human odor-detecting proteins from their genomes.

The team then studied the olfactory receptors on the mosquitoes’ antennae, which bind to chemicals in the environment and signal the brain via neurons.

Younger explained the findings: “We thought that mosquitoes would follow the central dogma of the sense of smell, which required that there be only one type of receptor on each neuron. But instead we found that different receptors in the same neuron responded to different odors.”

Accordingly, mosquitoes that have lost one or more of their olfactory receptors can still perceive human odor.

Mosquitoes have a very strong instinct to detect humans.

Researchers speculate that this redundant receptor system may have evolved as a kind of survival mechanism.

“The Yellow Fever Mosquito is a species of fly that specializes in biting humans. Humans have always been close to clean water, and mosquitoes lay their eggs in clean water. So they’re great food for them. Their urge to find humans is also extremely strong.” he speaks.

Researchers believe that understanding how mosquitoes’ brains work could help them interfere with their biting behavior.

It is thought that knowledge of how human odor is represented in the antennae and brains of mosquitoes will help develop new methods of keeping them away from humans.

It is also stated that with this information, fly repellents that target human odor receptors and neurons can be developed.

Researchers hope that by keeping mosquitoes away from humans, diseases such as mosquito-borne malaria, dengue and yellow fever can be prevented.

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