Creating mosquitoes that can’t see you
What if mosquitoes couldn’t see you?
Aedes aegypti are deadly mosquitoes that transmit viruses that cause dengue, yellow fever, zika and others that afflict more than 100,000,000 people each year. The female mosquitoes use multiple human-derived cues to find us, including vision, so that can bite us and take blood meals. In a study in Current Biology (July 2021) led by Yinpeng Zhan and Craig Montell, they created mutant mosquitoes missing two light receptors (rhodopsins) that eliminate the ability of the insects to find hosts. However, the mutant mosquitoes still retained three other rhodopsins in their eyes and were not blind. The work represents the first of its kind to create mosquitoes that do not recognize hosts visually. A news report on this study was published in the New York Times.