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NMSU researcher aims to curb mosquito populations through study of amino acids

NMSU researcher aims to curb mosquito populations through study of amino acids
KTSM
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 6:11pm

Mosquito season is over especially after the recent freezing temperatures but that's not stopping research at New Mexico State University on how to reduce mosquito populations.

Immo Hansen, an assistant professor at the Institute of Applied Biosciences and Department of Biology at NMSU is studying how mosquitos reproduce and the importance of amino acids for that process.

Hansen said only female mosquitos draw human blood to gain amino acids that are then transferred within the cells of the insect.

Through his research, the goal is to develop a way of blocking how those acids move in the mosquito and ultimately preventing reproduction and breaking down their immune systems.

The research is being conducted on yellow fever mosquitos that have reached the Las Cruces area and are known to carry dengue fever.

"So far the virus is not here but there is the potential and that's why we are looking for different strategies to actually get rid of these invasive species of mosquitos," Hansen said.

If an insecticide could be developed, Hansen said it would also work on other species with most mosquitos functioning the same way.

Hansen will receive a $1.4 million grant from the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases that will fund his work for the next four years.

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