Chinese researchers have discovered “the vampire gene”, which gives mosquitoes their thirst for blood.
The vampire gene is technically known as trypsin-like serine protease, or Tryp-SPc, said Wu Dongdong, a PhD candidate and lead author of a paper on the subject published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Tryp-SPc “makes mosquitoes capable of digesting blood faster and more efficiently than other non-blood-feeding species,” Wu said.
During research scientists fed blood to some mosquitoes and orange juice to others. Genetic analysis found the presence of Tryp-SPc was far higher in the group that fed on blood.
Positive Darwinian selection is considered to drive the evolution and diversification of trypsin-like serine protease family, which probably contributes profoundly to the hematophagous trait in mosquitoes.
Vampire genes are not limited to mosquitoes, bedbugs and other blood-sucking creatures but are found in far smaller doses in almost all animals, including humans.
“I don't know if the discovery can lead us to eventually create a human vampire in our lab,” Mr Wu said. “But the technology is already available.”
Origins of vampires
SELECT p.filepath AS pFilepath, p.filename AS pFilename, p.aid AS pAid, p.filesize AS pFilesize, p.title AS pTitle, p.caption AS pCaption, p.owner_id as pOwnerId, p.ctime AS pCtime, p.hits AS pHits, p.pid AS pPid, p.pic_rating AS pPic_Rating, p.votes AS pVotes, p.pwidth AS pWidth, p.pheight AS pHeight, p.user1 as pUser1, p.user2 as pUser2, p.user3 as pUser3, p.user4 as pUser4, c.cid as cCid, c.name as cName, c.description as cDescription, c.pos as cPos, c.parent as cParent, c.thumb as cThumb, u.user_lastvisit AS uUser_lastvisit,u.user_regdate AS uUser_regdate,u.user_email AS uUser_email,u.user_profile1 AS uUser_profile1,u.user_profile2 AS uUser_profile2,u.user_profile3 AS uUser_profile3,u.user_profile4 AS uUser_profile4,u.user_profile5 AS uUser_profile5,u.user_profile6 AS uUser_profile6, a.aid AS aAid, a.title AS aTitle, a.description AS aDescription, a.visibility as aVisibility, a.pos as aPos, a.category as aCategory, a.thumb as aThumb, a.keyword as aKeyword FROM cpg15x_pictures AS p LEFT JOIN cpg15x_users AS u ON p.owner_id = u.user_id LEFT JOIN cpg15x_albums AS a ON p.aid = a.aid LEFT JOIN cpg15x_categories AS c ON a.category = c.cid WHERE 1 AND p.approved='YES' ORDER BY rand(98071) LIMIT 9