Scientists find a genetic clue to why mosquitoes prefer some people more than others.

Do mosquitoes prefer brunettes? Are they attracted to younger people with smelly feet, who wear perfume, or who eat stinky cheese?

Anyone truly susceptible to mosquitoes knows — these are urban myths.

Some of us get bit more. We just do.


Mosquitoes use their sense of smell to find and then choose among us. Our different body chemistries as well as how much CO2 we exude (aka, heavy breathing) play a role in mosquito preference.

But it turns out that you can inherit being a mosquito magnet. A study compared the bite-ability of different sets of twins — 18 identical and 19 nonidentical. (The identical twins share the same DNA because they formed from the same sperm and egg.) The researchers designed a Y-shaped cylinder that gave the mosquitoes a choice between a hand of each person in different sets of twins.

The researchers found that if one twin in an identical twin set was a skeeter magnet, it was far likelier that her twin would be too.

So there's a genetic basis to that deep attraction mosquitoes have for some people.

The lead author on the paper, Dr. James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said, "In the future we may even be able to take a pill which will enhance the production of natural repellents by the body." Because mosquitoes transmit diseases, like dengue fever, malaria, and West Nile virus, finding a way to protect our bodies from mosquito bites is more than a matter of convenience.

In the meantime, don't worry about stinky feet or stinky cheese. The reason why mosquitoes like you better may be something you were born with.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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