Scientists at Florida International University have discovered the olfactory receptor behind mosquitoes’ attraction to human sweat, thus allowing a greater knowledge of how to repel the insects.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, focused on the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which are known for spreading deadly illnesses such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever.
The team, led by FIU biologist Matthew DeGennaro, created a mutant mosquitoes by removing the olfactory receptor identified as Ionotropic Receptor 8a. During experiments, the absence of said receptor made the mosquitoes significantly less attracted to humans.
This finding raises hope for finding repellents that would make people invisible to mosquitoes, the researchers stressed.