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Critically Speaking

Apr 21, 2021

Audience questions answered 

  1.  Why are some people attacked by mosquitoes, while people sitting next to them aren’t bothered?  This question, from Neil in Jupiter, Florida is something people wonder about.  Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2 as well as body odors.  Supposed remedies, like taking B vitamins or eating garlic, lack scientific evidence to back them up.  The differences between people are largely genetic.  Identical twins exhibit highly similar attractiveness or unattractiveness while fraternal twins do not.  Now, to find the genes underlying these differences in hopes of using them to protect people. Pregnant women and people with obesity seem to be more attractive to mosquitoes, as are people who have had a beer. 
  1. How come some vertebrates, like salamanders, can regenerate an arm, while other vertebrates, like humans, can’t? From Jocelyn in Edmonton, Canada…..good question and an area of intensive investigation.  Regeneration is a complex process, involving many genes and their regulation.  In some cases, we do have the same genes that allow amphibians to regenerate but they have been turned off or modified such that they don’t allow regeneration.  In other cases, some of the genes involved in regeneration have been lost over evolutionary time.  Keep listening because in the future we will have an entire episode dedicated to regeneration. 



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