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Mosquito sperm may sense smells

Aedes aegypti mosquito sperm, shown here magnified by a factor of 50, may have odor sensors in their tails that help them navigate during reproduction.

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Mosquitoes’ sperm may have chemical sensors that detect odors similar to the way the insects’ antennae sort smells.

The chemical sensors lie in the sperm cell's tail, which may beat faster in response to particular odors to help the sperm swim to the right place to fertilize an egg in a female mosquito, scientists suggest February 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The discovery is the first to identify an odor sensor in in nonsensory cells or tissue and could lead to new ways to control insect populations, the authors argue.

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