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One of the driving factors behind the decline of honeybees and butterflies around the world, pesticides identified as a major water contaminant, harming aquatic life. A team of researchers at Purdue University is taking a step in the right direction, after having identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a more selective means for controlling mosquito populations.

The chemicals in question are known as dopamine receptor antagonists (DRAs) and essentially race dopamine to the protein receptors that the hormone normally occupies. When these DRAs beat dopamine to the punch, they successfully disrupt cell signaling, movement, development, and other complex behaviors in a mosquito – eventually leading to the insect’s death.

Recent tests with these DRAs has already shown that the focused chemicals are effective at killing both larval and adult stages of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which transmit yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya; and Culex quinquefasciatus, the vector of West Nile virus.

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