Understanding how mosquitoes smell humans could save thousands of lives
How human-biting mosquitoes track us isn't known, but it matters, since they carry diseases such as Zika, dengue, West Nile virus and malaria. Understanding how mosquitoes sniff us out so more effective repellents can be made could save up to half a million lives lost annually.
How human-biting mosquitoes track us down so effectively isn't currently known, but it matters, since they don't just make us itch. They also carry dangerous diseases such as Zika, dengue, West Nile virus and malaria that can be deadly. In fact, stopping these pesky insects in their tracks could save up to half a million lives lost to those diseases each year. How mosquitoes evolved to be attracted to humans, and what that means for the future "In each of those cases where a mosquito has evolved to bite humans — which has only happened two or three times — they become nasty disease vectors," said Carolyn"Lindy" McBride, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute in New Jersey. That's why she wants to understand how they find and target humans.Read MoreMosquitoes can smell us "Mosquitoes mostly choose what to bite based on odor," said McBride, whose lab focuses on the Aedes aegypti mosquito species that evolved to bite humans specifically. Only female mosquitoes suck blood since they need it to produce their eggs. Knowing how a potentially disease-carrying female mosquito sniffs out a person, while ignoring other warm-blooded animals, is a key query.Shown here are female mosquitoes of the animal-biting African subspecies Aedes aegypti formosus (left) and the human-biting, globally invasive subspecies Aedes aegypti aegypti (right).Once that's better known, much more effective repellents — or bait to lure mosquitoes away from humans — could be made, saving lives, said Christopher Potter, associate professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Sensory Biology.If scientists can control their sense of smell,"we can really control what these mosquitoes are doing," said Potter, who studies another human-specific mosquito, Anopheles, which carries malaria. Our odors are complicatedIt's not an easy question to answer, since any animal smell is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds mixed together in specific ratios. 750 million genetically engineered mosquitoes approved for release in Florida Keys"The actual chemicals that are found in human odor are basically the same as the chemicals found in animal odor — it's the ratios and the relative abundance of those compounds in human mixtures that's unique," said McBride, whose research focuses on those issues. Each time a hungry female mosquito flies by, it's doing complex chemical math in its tiny brain, figuring out what's a human, what's dog and what's a flower. A library of smells"To investigate, we decided to record neural activity in the brain of females while exposing them to natural human and animal odor extracts," wrote Zhilei Zhao, a graduate student in McBride's lab, in a Twitter thread describing the lab's work. It took four years to develop"the necessary genetic reagents, odor delivery systems, and analytical approaches," Zhao wrote. (From left) Noah Rose, a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton, and Gilbert Bianquinche survey a tree hole near Kedougou, Senegal, for Aedes aegypti larvae. More than half of the world's population lives in areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present.McBride's lab team created a library of the chemical composition of animal odors."That data set doesn't really exist — so we decided to go out and collect it ourselves," said Jessica Zung, a graduate student in McBride's lab. Zung has collected scent samples from about 40 different animals so far, including guinea pigs, rats, quail and more. One common compound stood outComparing some of those to the 16 human samples, something jumped out. Decanal, a simple, common compound, is particularly abundant in human skin, Zung said. Florida releases experimental mosquitoes to fight ZikaUbiquitous in the natural world, in humans, decanal comes from another, more complex compound. Zung dug into the archives to find research from the 1970s (much of it originally done to find an acne cure) that detailed how when one component of our skin's natural oils, sapienic acid, breaks down, decanal is left over. This acid (as indicated by its name) is only found in human beings. It's what likely leads to the high levels of decanal that help the mosquitoes smell their way to us, but more studies need to be done.Understanding what the mosquitoes are sniffing out is only part of the story; knowing how they do it is also important. To see exactly how mosquitoes use this sense, scientists bred genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes"so that we could cut open their little tiny heads and put them under a fancy microscope and actually watch neurons firing when they're exposed to human and animal odors," McBride said.The research team already knew that mosquitoes have about 60 different types of neurons that sense odors, so when they looked in the insects' brains, they thought they might see a lot of activity. But it was surprisingly quiet, meaning that the signal was perhaps quite simple, down to just a couple types of neurons.Genetically engineered moths have been released into the wild to wipe out pests"One type of neuron responded really strongly to both humans and animals. Another type of neuron responded to both — but it responded much more strongly to humans than animals," McBride said of that work. So it may be as simple as that mosquito's brain comparing just two types of neurons. This kind of research has only been possible since the technology to study mosquito brains in detail became available, which only happened recently."It's been traditionally very hard to study this at the level we're doing it now," Potter said. An example of rapid evolutionIncredibly, mosquitoes that target humans have evolved to be able to do this in just the last 5,000 years, so it's a"really amazing example of rapid evolution," McBride said.What makes me so tasty? 5 myths about mosquito bitesThe Aedes aegypti, aka"yellow fever mosquito" also carries dengue, Zika and chikungunya. The critter originated in Africa and likely made its way to its current range in the southern United States and Central and South America on slave ships during the 1600s, according to McBride. These diseases combined kill and sicken thousands of people a year, which is why mosquitoes have been called"the world's deadliest animal" by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. McBride and Potter both hope their work could be used by others working on repellents and attractants to prevent disease. Keeping them away is simpleAs far as insider knowledge on how to keep from being bitten in your own backyard, McBride said she uses a fan. Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.
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there's no silver bullet....just coat yourself in vinegar and it should at least alleviate the amt of bloodlust from these mfs😎👍 ImuhVivian I feel kind of bad that they cut open their little tiny heads. Start back allowing DDT will save many more lives. Venice311 what about fleas? Ah, that's why some people is so popular with mosquitoes.
For the mosquitoes or humans? Do they have different - different smells based on Religion & Country No ? HOW RIDICULOUS 😀😀😀😀 Now who is intelligent humans or mosquitoes ? Stopping abortions could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Do they have different - different smells based on Religion & Country No ? HOW RIDICULOUS 😀😀😀😀 Now who is intelligent humans or mosquitoes
Do they have different - different smells based on Religion & Country No ? HOW RIDICULOUS 😀😀😀😀 Now who is intelligent humans or mosquitoes Do they have different - different smells based on Religion & Country No ? HOW RIDICULOUS 😀😀😀😀 Now who is intelligent humans or mosquitoes ? Do they have different - different smells based on Religion & Country No ? HOW RIDICULOUS 😀😀😀😀 Now who is intelligent humans or mosquitoes
BO saves lives 'Our Odors are Complicated' is about the best heading I've seen in an article 미국분들 중에 여유가 넉넉하시면 여러명 자녀를 두는 것도 장려하시면. ㅡ대학교 진학시 장학금 주고 취업도 알선해 준다고 하시면.. Some insects can transmit dangerous diseases to human.but more of them are beauty and necessary for nature. What ever happened to the robot mosquitos that were supposed to wipe out their population. That’s the kinda vibes I’m looking for in 2021.
Not to brag, but I was a non-essential worker before it was cool PEOPLE WHO SAY VOTER FRAUD DIDN'T HAPPEN, SAY THE VOTING MACHINES WERE NOT ON THE INTERNET. THE CURRENT RUNOFF GEORGIA ELECTION MACHINED ARE ON THE INTERNET NOW AND HAVE BEEN HACKED. PROVEN. & THE FAKE DISGUSTING MEDIA WON'T REPORT. WOW! STOP THE STEAL
Mosquitoes find their human victims by the carbon dioxide they exhale. How they smell? Or how they smell? So, when flies land on us, what do we smell like? 😆 STHU!! FAKE NEWS the New Wave 🎯 Gurl I got a mosquito bites just looking at this chileeeeee 바이러스만들기 모기 ?한국이 있는 만들기도 해 썩은시내천에서 DDT could’ve saved thousands of lives.
So wait how will your “reporters” work ? Prob the same way i smell bacon I thought we were going to make them be born infertile until they no longer exist? Understanding that CNN is full of shit could save millions of lives Believe they smell humans with their nose. Really, on the middle of a pandemic in the cold of winter when there are no mosquitoes you tossing us an article explaining nuro-mosquito biology and in the end tell us the solution is to blow a fan at our feet? What kind of freaking bs is this cnn ?
Hmm Decanal being specific to humans. What synesthetic work! With something topical - no harm done - mosquitos evolution to feast on us and unknowingly spread disease will be counteracted. If only the same could be done for the bullshit dissent and disinformation on this thread. Can we understand why CNN lies and covers up important stories for financial gain first
mqtt Very interesting. Skeeters seem to target especially me. I must smell very tasty to them Human Hair. More riveting garbage by CNN! The Biden variety. Who needs financial assistance? Trump policy america first realDonaldTrump Sorry,couldn't resist ,but they are more like cockroaches =ivermectin Maybe mosquitoes are gay or even transgender 🤔
Mosquito lives matter! At least they not sniffing young child CreepyJoe Watch libertytarian's broadcast: FBI Links NashvilleBombing to 5G 'Paranoia' - FAA Bans Aerial Views Interesting point. Since my cancer treatment 13 years ago mosquitoes do not bite me. When we sit outside at certain times of the year when mosquitoes are bad they eat my wife and son alive but rarely even land on me. When they do they fly off almost immediately. Chemotherapy?
ew now these dumbasses are useful & For this, Knowing Who Tampered With Or Create / Manipulate Them Is Important Towards ACCOUNTABILITY!👍👍👍 & Also, Who APPROVES This.🧐 Donald and Melania Trump doppelgangers. Free Already Roperfree innovated a solution that is a mosquito repellent made with pure essential oils ward off mosquitoes because they can't stand the smell of it.
Fun fact - the banning of DDT has caused the deaths of 10s of millions of people world wide from diseases carried by mosquitos. Who gives a shit? Use bug spray AglaiaBouma Hey, if you wipe out mosquitos what are hummingbirds going to eat for protein? They don’t just drink sugar water .... have these people given any thought to the birds and other critters that eat mosquitos?
It has already been proven that what attracts them is CO2 from your breath what a BS story Let me get this straight , in the article it saids “In fact, stopping these pesky insects in their tracks could save up to half a million lives lost to those diseases each year.” So are you saying mosquitoes kills more people than Covid? Yes or no ? If anyone knows let me know
Mosquitos kill millions every year, and yet you don't use them to fear monger people. Makes one wonder. For those of you who cling on to FEAR and WORRY like a baby blanket.. keep watching CNN. I swear they don’t tell you these thing because it makes them money. I’m telling you this confidently from my ocean front estate in Arizona.
Bodies that contain more fatty acids than others are attractive to mosquitoes, and the same is the case for bodies that produce specific odors that differ from person to person. Mosquitoes prefer warm skin, some fatty acids and odors of ammonia or lactase that the body secretes Those two look deadly This could help.Those little buggers will bite you the whole night
Honestly I saw 3 mosquitoes this past summer. It’s so dry where I am they are nearly nonexistent. This was a blessing coming from the east coast where ur entire behavior in the summer was built around mosquitoes lol. Although I do turn into a raisin more easily now. We need water Jesus saves!!! Yeah let's figure this shit out tf
CDC ON MOSQUITOES