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Nature

24
May

Everyone Itches

Why do we itch, anyway? Science is just beginning to scratch the surface. Here’s Ed Yong, writing for National Geographic:

In a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, Santosh Mishra and Mark Hoon have bred a group of mice with an enviable super-power—they’re immune to itching. You can dab their skin with substances that would send most of us into a scratching frenzy, and they’ll be completely unfazed.

These mice also lack a gene called Nppb. Mishra and Hoon believe that the neurons that produce Nppb are the root of itching—but they didn’t come to this discovery on purpose; their original aim was slightly different. Read Yong’s article (linked above) for the fascinating backstory.

And to prove our point that everybody itches, here are some pictures of animals itching:

gazelle

Photo credit: nathaninsandiego

cat

Photo credit: jollino

monkey

Photo credit: johnjackrice

baby-flamingo

Photo credit: nathaninsandiego

horse

Photo credit: pyth0ns

pelican

Photo credit: nathaninsandiego

bear

Photo credit: photochiel

anubis-baboon

Photo credit: doug88888

giraffe

Photo credit: sevitzdotcom

squirrel2

Photo credit: mandj98

tiger1

Photo credit: deucer

zebra

Photo credit: mtsofan

squirrel1

Photo credit: katedahl

raccooon

Photo credit: christinawelsh

flamingo

Photo credit: nathaninsandiego

elk

Photo credit: hipshot99

llama

Photo credit: jeremy_vandel