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.

This week, a Supreme Court ruling has acknowledged that, at least for the sake of federal criminal prosecutions, most of the eastern half of Oklahoma belongs to the Muscogee (Creek) Indian Tribe. The ruling enforces treaties made in the 19th century, despite objections from state and federal governments, and upholds the sovereignty of the Muscogee to prosecute crimes committed by tribe members within their own lands.

The U.S. government has a long and storied history of breaking treaties with Native American tribes, and Indigenous communities have suffered greatly because of those broken promises.

Stacy Leeds, a former Cherokee Nation Supreme Court justice and former special district court judge for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, described the ruling in an article on Slate:

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