New study shows that if mosquitoes are drawn to the scent of a particular person, they are are more to find her twin’s scent appealing as well. On the other side, if they are repelled by someone’s scent, they’re likely to find her twin repulsive, too.

Scientists analyzed 37 sets of twins who were entered their hands in a Y-shaped glass tube. The 20 mosquitoes from the tube had 30 seconds to assess the scents emitted by the hand. Then a small door was opened, which allowed the mosquitoes to fly toward the hands they found appealing and away from the hands they were repelled by.

After running the experiment 40 times with each set of twins, they discovered that the mosquito preferences were about twice as large for identical twins, compared to the levels for fraternal twins. That allowed the scientists to demonstrate that 62% to 83% of a person’s degree of mosquito appeal is determined by DNA, according to a research published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Other studies have discovered that genes are about 80% liable for a person’s height and 50% to 80% for their IQ.

Researchers have believed for some time that people are bitten by mosquitoes an unfortunate genetic inheritance.

They suspected that biology had a role in either attracting or scattering mosquitoes. For example, women who are pregnant are much more appealing than women who aren’t. The scientists also found out that people who are infected with malaria parasite are more attractive to the insects at the time when the infection can be spread.

Previous research have demonstrated that mosquitoes are drawn to people on the basis of their odor. Bacteria that is present on the skin is responsible for producing body odor, but skin cells also play a role, which might be controlled by genes.

So the scientists recruited 19 pairs of fraternal twins and 18 pairs of identical twins. All of them were women and post-menopausal.

The team also made use of dozens of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, a species that can spread dengue fever. The mosquitoes were almost a week old, and in their lives until the experiment all their food was a glucose solution.

In some tests, the researchers analyzed the odor of one twin’s hand while comparing it to clean air. They also tested twin-versus-twin, while in other tests, both ends of the Y-shaped tube had clean air pumped through them.

Image Source: Mosquito