Over two dozen scent receptors in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes that detect compounds in human sweat, has been discovered by researchers at Yale University.
The study, which may help in the development of better traps and mosquito repellents, has appeared online Feb. 3 in the journal Nature.
John Carlson, senior author of the study and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale, said: "The world desperately needs new ways of controlling these mosquitoes, ways that are effective, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly.
"Some of these receptors could be excellent targets for controlling mosquito behavior."
He pointed out: "Mosquitoes find us through their sense of smell, but we know very little about how they do this," Carlson said. "Here in the United States, mosquitoes are a source of annoyance, but in much of the world they're a source of death."
Carson added: "We're now screening for compounds that interact with these receptors.... Compounds that jam these receptors could impair the ability of mosquitoes to find us. Compounds that excite some of these receptors could help lure mosquitoes into traps or repel them. The best lures or repellents may be cocktails of multiple compounds."