Insect Taste Buds

Insect Taste Buds

When you take a bite out of something and it tastes too bitter or sour for your liking you spit it out, right? Well scientists are now studying how insect taste buds work to try and figure out a way to make humans taste bad to them, preventing such insects as mosquitos from wanting to bite us in the first place. While studying fruit flies scientists discovered three receptors call GRs that allow them to taste the noxious amino acid L-canavanine. They also found that these receptors have the ability to shut off or close when they sense this nasty chemical.

Scientists now want to do tests on other insects to identify these taste receptors that communicate bad chemicals in order to create safer, cheaper chemical that could be used in insect repellents that would deter other insects from wanting to bite humans. The receptors connect to a neural pathway that gives a stop-feeding signal. Other, disease-carrying insects are likely to have the same kind of receptors, making it possible for scientists to find them and create repellents that would literally send signals to in the insects’ brains telling them not to bite. This could seriously revolutionize the field of insect repellents.

What do you think of this new approach to creating insect repellents? Do you think it will work?

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