Journal Club: Taming the Taste for Blood

Leslie Vosshall and Lauren Richardson

Posted March 16, 2021

Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on Earth and for millennia humans have tried to rid themselves of these disease-spreading pests, with shockingly little success. On this episode of the Bio Eats World Journal Club, host Lauren Richardson talks to Professor Leslie Vosshall of Rockefeller University about two articles from her lab investigating the neural and genetic basis of the mosquito’s love for us and our blood. First, “Sensory Discrimination of Blood and Floral Nectar by Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes” by Veronica Jove, Zhongyan Gong, Felix J.H. Hol, Zhilei Zhao, Trevor R. Sorrells, Thomas S. Carroll, Manu Prakash, Carolyn S. McBride, and Leslie B. Vosshall, published in Neuron. Second, “Fruitless mutant male mosquitoes gain attraction to human odor” by Nipun S Basrur, Maria Elena De Obaldia, Takeshi Morita, Margaret Herre, Ricarda K von Heynitz, Yael N Tsitohay, and Leslie B Vosshall, published in eLife. The conversation covers how mosquitoes taste blood, the critical differences between male mosquitoes and female mosquitoes, and of course, what this all means for controlling the spread of the deadly pathogens transmitted by the mosquito.