Scientists say mozzies love you more depending on your genes


YOU'RE at a barbecue and the mosquitos go straight for you.

No-one else seems to be affected.

Thankfully you are not alone as a recent study found your isolated complaining and slapping could be down to your genetics.

The study, Heritability of Attractiveness to Mosquitoes, was published in the UK based journal Plos One.

Previous studies suggested insects were attracted to humans based on differences in body odour or diet.

However senior author of the study James Logan said there was no clear and consistent dietary or body odour explanation, so have explored whether an underlying genetic component was the key.

Dr Logan and his team used identical and non-identical female twins in a trial.

RELATED: Two mosquito-bourne viruses for unlucky dad

Dengue mosquitoes were released into a Y-shaped tube that was divided into two sections.

Mosquitoes were allowed to fly down either side toward the odour of their choice, both generated from participants' hands, to see which person they were most attracted to.

Dr Logan said the results showed identical twin pairs were more similar in attractiveness to mosquitoes than non-identical twin pairs, which showed genes did play a part in attracting the insects.

Bizarrely, height and IQ were also tested as possible attracters.

"By investigating the genetic mechanism behind attractiveness to biting insects such as mosquitoes, we can move closer to using this knowledge to develop better ways of keeping us safe from bites and the diseases insects can spread through bites," Dr James said.



RESOURCEFULNESS is the key to surviving a mosquito onslaught if you're stranded without repellent.

Here are some natural remedies to repel mosquitoes and heal their bites in any situation.

Barbecues: The host without the most forgot to buy repellent. Scoff a few cloves of garlic or give yourself a rubdown with pepper to make yourself less attractive to the mossies. Works for people too.

High tea: While rubbing yourself with biscuits and milk will only detract from your decorum, cold tea bags are a soothing way to treat bites. The tannins in tea reduce swelling. Simply sneak a bag out of the teapot when it's empty and rest it on your feet.

Gardening: The garden is full of natural remedies to both prevent mosquitoes and take the sting out of their bites.

Aloe Vera contains more than 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids that are beneficial to your skin.

Basil contains camphor and thymol, two compounds that can relieve itching. Crush up some and apply directly to the bite.

National parks: National parks host the biggest swarms of mosquitoes, so knowing your environment her is essential. The most effective preventative is to rub a thick layer of mud all over your exposed skin. The flying biters won't know what to do with themselves, and its good for your skin.

If it's been dry, grab a few eucalypt leaves and rub them on your skin. A 2014 Rockhampton study found a mixture with 30% lemon eucalyptus oil had 95% protection for three hours.

Other preventatives: You never know what you can find in unopened cupboards and draws or what is growing around you, so here are some more repellent-less solutions.

Lemon and lime, both have anti-itch, antibacterial, and antimicrobial actions. Watch out for sunlight because it can make you blister.

Catnip, some studies say it is 10 times more effective than DEET.

Lavender is an effective repellent.


Topics:  genetics mosquitoes science

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