For whatever reason, mosquitoes LOVE me. I can be outside with a group of a dozen people, and I’m swatting mosquitoes left and right while everyone else gets one or two measly bites. WHY ME? Can you relate? Are you a mosquito magnet, too? Well, researchers may have figured out part of the reason- and it turns out, I should blame my genes!
To figure this out, researchers did a pilot study with twins- identical twins AND non-identical twins. When mosquitoes were released towards the hands of the twins, there was a much more even distribution of mosquitoes on the hands of the identical twins, meaning that the mosquitoes were showing a similar preference to these individuals. But with non-identical twins (these twins share less genetic material than identical twins would), the mosquitoes seemed to show a preference for one or the other individual.
This indicates that your likelihood of being on a mosquito’s buffet menu could likely be caused by inherited body odor genes. While it’s not known how big of a component genetics plays, it certainly seems to be a factor. Further research into the genetic variations that attract mosquitoes may help scientists develop better methods of insect control. What do you think about this research? If you’re a mosquito magnet, like me, do you find that certain relatives share your misery? We’d love to hear your thoughts- comment below!
Read more about this research here.