Today in Research: How DEET Actually Stops Mosquitoes; More

Today in research: confused mosquitoes, same-sex sea squid sex, an immune system like a shark, and soul-searching about a longevity gene.

  • What does DEET do to (sort of) keep mosquitoes from biting? Even if you presume that bug-repellent DEET is full of chemicals that can't be good for you, it's nearly impossible to stop spraying it when you're being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Having said that, few know how the product works. University of Rochester researchers offered a new theory: "it confuses insects as they try to smell their way to a target. An alternative theory is that DEET's smell actively repels them." We guess there are plenty of confused mosquitoes buzzing around. [Associated Press]
  • Longevity research just had a soul-searching moment. We're fond of pointing out all the curious ways that research has linked to eking a few extra years out of life. But today, it looks like one of those potential links -- a gene linked with longevity in certain types of animals (worms and flies) -- was shown not to have an effect on prolonging life. As a professor of behavioral genetics explained to The Boston Globe: "This field has been marked by both conscious and unconscious interpretation, and let me say tremendous over-interpretation, of very limited datasets.... What I think is going on is the field now is starting to re-examine itself." [The Boston Globe]

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