Genetic link underlies mosquitoes' preference for humans or animals
Do some mosquitoes prefer to feed on animals rather than humans? Some species of mosquitoes are carriers of malaria like Anopheles arabiensis, which is the primary vector of malaria in East African countries. The spread of malaria depends on whether mosquitoes bite animals or humans, as well as whether mosquitoes rest after that meal in an area where they will encounter pesticides. To understand if there is a genetic basis to the host preference, researchers at the Vector Genetics Lab at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine sequenced the genomes of 23 human-fed and 25 cattle-fed mosquitoes, which they collected indoors and outdoors from Tanzania’s Kilobero Valley. They found that a chromosomal rearrangement called the 3Ra inversion in some mosquitoes made them prone to feeding on animals. These findings can help researchers in genetically modifying mosquitoes so that they stop feeding on humans.
Read more in Science Daily.