Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others | Summary and Q&A

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February 7, 2018
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Veritasium
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Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others

TL;DR

Mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others, and genetics plays a significant role in determining a person's attractiveness to mosquitoes.

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Key Insights

  • 🦟 Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals in the world, responsible for more human deaths than any other single cause.
  • 🦟 Carbon dioxide, lactic acid, acetone, and ammonia are some volatile chemicals that attract mosquitoes.
  • 🦟 Octanal, nonanal, decanal, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one are chemicals that repel or impair mosquitoes' ability to find humans.
  • 💪 Mosquito attractiveness is as hereditary as height and IQ, indicating a strong genetic influence.
  • 🧑 Contracting malaria can change a person's body chemistry to make them more attractive to mosquitoes.
  • 🥺 The evolution of malaria parasites has led to infected hosts producing an odor that attracts mosquitoes, facilitating the transmission of the disease.

Transcript

Are you the person in the group who's always getting bitten by mosquitoes? Because I certainly am and science has shown that this is a thing - that mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others. And the reason for that is at least partially genetic, which is why this video is supported by 23andMe, a company that reads sections of your ge... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why are some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others?

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain genetic factors that determine a person's odor and volatile chemical emissions.

Q: Can genetics protect someone from mosquito bites?

Yes, certain genetic variations can make a person less attractive to mosquitoes, decreasing their chances of being bitten.

Q: What is 23andMe's involvement in mosquito research?

23andMe conducted a study to identify genetic factors associated with mosquito attractiveness, using participants' genetic information and self-reported attractiveness ratings.

Q: How do mosquitoes impact human health?

Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting diseases such as malaria, causing millions of deaths annually.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Mosquitoes are genetically attracted to certain people more than others.

  • Mosquitoes require blood proteins to make their eggs, so only female mosquitoes bite.

  • Identical twins are more likely to have similar levels of attractiveness to mosquitoes, suggesting a genetic influence.

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