The findings of a new study have now revealed a link between individuals being prone to mosquito bites, and their genes.
The researchers attempted to understand the exact traits that make an individual more or less attractive to mosquitoes, and found that genetic odors could be responsible for it all.
For the study, they took 18 sets of identical twins, and 19 sets of non-identical twins.
They started by releasing the mosquitoes into a Y shaped tube, which allows the mice to choose a side to fly down from. They then touched the both the twin’s hands to one each side of the tube, and attempted to examine which side the mosquitoes were more compelled to go towards, and why.
They also had the idea that if the mosquitoes were attracted to the hand odor, they would fly towards it, and if they were repelled by the odor, they would fly away from it.
Their findings revealed a rather shocking instance- identical twins were actually similar in terms of attracting the mosquitoes towards themselves. However, the same could not be said for non-identical twins, which led the researchers to believe that the genes definitely play a role when it comes to attracting mosquitoes.
Identical twins would obviously have the same hand odor, since they had the same genetic makeup.
However, since the study is quite small, it could be difficult to come to a proper conclusion.
“By investigating the genetic mechanism behind attractiveness to biting insects such as mosquitoes we can move closer to using this knowledge for better ways of keeping us safe from bites and the diseases insects can spread through bites,” the researchers said. “In the future we may even be able to take a pill which will enhance the production of natural repellents by the body and ultimately replace skin lotions.”
The findings of the study are now published in the journal Plos One.