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University of Nevada, Reno research team discovers hormone that causes malaria mosquito to urinate

blood from a human--and only pregnant female mosquitoes do this--it will take in twice its body weight in blood. To decrease this added weight, the mosquito urinates on its victim to release fluids.

Coast discovered that introducing one of the two diuretic hormones, DH31, into the mosquito causes the mosquito to excrete fluid rich in sodium chloride, the main salt in blood.

"Only DH31 causes the massive loss of sodium chloride which causes the mosquito to pee," Schooley said. "Stimulation of this process when the mosquito is not feeding could make the mosquito die."

Implications of this discovery, which is published in September's issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology, could lead to the development of a pesticide for controlling mosquitoes.

"Synthetic compounds that mimic the action of these peptide hormones should be useful as pesticides," Schooley said. "Like methoprene, DH31 only affects lower species such as insects, which suggests it should be very safe to non-insect species."

Schooley said that discovery, development and extensive environmental testing of such a pesticide could take up to 10 years, however.


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Source:University of Nevada College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources


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