Insects are repelled by N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as DEET. But exactly which olfactory receptors insects use to sense DEET has eluded scientists for long.
Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified these DEET-detecting olfactory receptors that cause the repellency — a major breakthrough in the field of olfaction.
Further, the team of researchers has identified three safe compounds that mimic DEET and could one day be used to prevent the transmission of deadly vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, and yellow fever.
Study results appear online Oct. 2 in Nature. "Odour receptors and neurons for DEET and new insect repellents" http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12594.html
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