Friday, December 15, 2017

Mosquito preference for human versus animal biting has genetic basis

According to a new study from the University of California, mosquitoes are more likely to feed on cattle than on humans if they carry a specific chromosomal rearrangement in their genome. This reduces their odds of transmitting the malaria parasite. This reduces their odds of transmitting the malaria parasite. Rates of malaria transmission depend on whether mosquitoes bite humans or animals, and whether they rest after that meal in an area where they will encounter pesticides. Using genetics to better understand and track mosquito behavior can improve local control strategies. This knowledge may also open novel avenues for stopping malaria's spread, such as genetically modifying mosquitoes to prefer cattle over people.

I never look forward to the summer because I live in an area where mosquitoes attack me from head to toe. After reading this article, it made me wonder if my genome has an arrangement that makes the mosquitos for attached to my blood than to other people. I found it interesting how a specific chromosomal rearrangement of a genome could help reduce the odds of transmitting malaria.

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