As a child, I remember my mother declaring that of our entire family (2 adults and 4 kids) she was the only one who was pestered by mosquitoes when we were at our summer cabin by the lake.
She felt understandably persecuted by the little blood-sucking menaces.
And she probably was right.
WebMD reports that “genetics account for a whopping 85% of our susceptibility to mosquito bites.”
New research out of the London School of Tropical Medicine confirms this.
The researchers used pairs of identical and fraternal twins who volunteered to be mosquito meat (who would do that?!).
With these pairs, scientists saw a difference in who the bugs chose. When the twins were identical, the two would either be equally attractive or not attractive to the mosquitoes. When the twins were not identical, the choice varied. That, scientists say, suggests there is a genetic component to the mosquito law of attraction. Identical twins have identical genes. With fraternal twins, there are differences.
An individual’s unique body odor, determined in large part by genetics, may be more attractive to mosquitoes than another’s.
If scientists can figure out how to identify and then neutralize this odor, that would be a significant step in our ability to repel the little critters—and reduce the incidence of mosquito-born diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.
Avoid mosquitoes if possible: