Only female mosquitoes bite us. Male mosquitoes are not very adept at locating humans, they lack needles that allow them to penetrate the skin, and have even been found to refuse blood nutrients in laboratory studies.
According to a new study by researchers from Rockefeller University in the USA, all mosquitoes have the nerve and brain structures necessary to find humans, but this hardware is hidden behind a simple genetic lock in the male mosquito brain. eLifeThe study, published in .
It is stated that the findings obtained in the study may contribute to our understanding of how female mosquitoes spread diseases that have claimed millions of lives, beyond explaining why male mosquitoes are naturally not interested in biting humans.
Stating that there is now information about which circuits in the mosquito brain are related to females finding humans and deciding to bite, the researchers state that the detection of the gene that plays a key role paves the way for further studies.
In the research, it was seen that male mosquitoes, which are normally unresponsive to human odors, flock to the human arm in tests after the gene mutation. However, their feeding behavior had not changed; mutant mosquitoes continued to refuse to feed on blood.
Tests confirm that while mutant male mosquitoes still lack the desire to drink blood and the ability to sense body temperature, they indicate that they have become sensitive to human odor with the inactivation of a gene. The researchers say that disabling the gene reveals the suppressed human hunting urge in males.
Stating that they will continue to examine how sex differences in mosquitoes are encoded in the brain and how they are determined by genes in their future studies, the researchers state that gender-specific behaviors have been assumed to come entirely from that sex-specific nerve clusters until now, but new studies indicate that both sexes generally have the same neural structures. It seems that genetics determine how these nerves, which are the same in male and female mosquitoes, will function.