The study involves collecting pairs of stinky old socks from 200 sets of identical and non-identical twins and seeing which stinky pieces of clothing attract the most mosquitos.
Earlier studies have shown that identical twins attract the same number of mosquitos, while non-identical twins will often have one twin attract more mozzies than the other.
Medical entomologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, James Logan, is heading the project and hopes that it will lead to identifying the genes which cause mozzies to be fond of certain people over others. Being able to isolate the gene responsible could lead to promising new technologies.
‘Perhaps we could develop a pill or medication that would allow the body to produce natural repellents to keep mosquitoes away,’ he told Scientific American.
While this is interesting news, don’t throw away your repellant just yet - any such development will be way down the line.
Traits that are suspected to attract mosquitos:
- Higher levels of carbon dioxide in exhaled breath
- Being taller or broader physically
- Being pregnant