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Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes

Mandela Fernández-Grandon, G.; Gezan, Salvador A.; Armour, John A.L.; Pickett, John A.; Logan, James G.


G. Mandela Fernández-Grandon

Salvador A. Gezan

John A.L. Armour

John A. Pickett

James G. Logan


Female mosquitoes display preferences for certain individuals over others, which is determined by differences in volatile chemicals produced by the human body and detected by mosquitoes. Body odour can be controlled genetically but the existence of a genetic basis for differential attraction to insects has never been formally demonstrated. This study investigated heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes by evaluating the response of Aedes aegypti (=Stegomyia aegypti) mosquitoes to odours from the hands of identical and non-identical twins in a dual-choice assay. Volatiles from individuals in an identical twin pair showed a high correlation in attractiveness to mosquitoes, while non-identical twin pairs showed a significantly lower correlation. Overall, there was a strong narrow-sense heritability of 0.62 (SE 0.124) for relative attraction and 0.67 (0.354) for flight activity based on the average of ten measurements. The results demonstrate an underlying genetic component detectable by mosquitoes through olfaction. Understanding the genetic basis for attractiveness could create a more informed approach to repellent development.


Mandela Fernández-Grandon, G., Gezan, S. A., Armour, J. A., Pickett, J. A., & Logan, J. G. (in press). Heritability of attractiveness to mosquitoes. PLoS ONE, 10(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Apr 22, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2016
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Article Number e0122716
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


Fernandez-Grandon et al 2015.pdf (4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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