Royal Society Publishing

Predicting insecticide resistance: mutagenesis, selection and response

J. A. McKenzie, P. Batterham


Strategies to manage resistance to a particular insecticide have usually been devised after resistance has evolved. If it were possible to predict likely resistance mechanisms to novel insecticides before they evolved in the field, it might be feasible to have programmes that manage susceptibility. With this approach in mind, single–gene variants of the Australian sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina, resistant to dieldrin, diazinon and malathion, were selected in the laboratory after mutagenesis of susceptible strains. The genetic and molecular bases of resistance in these variants were identical to those that had previously evolved in natural populations. Given this predictive capacity for known resistances, the approach was extended to anticipate possible mechanisms of resistance to cyromazine, an insecticide to which L. cuprina populations remain susceptible after almost 20 years of exposure. Analysis of the laboratory–generated resistant variants provides an explanation for this observation. The variants show low levels of resistance and a selective advantage over susceptibles for only a limited concentration range. These results are discussed in the context of the choice of insecticides for control purposes and of delivery strategies to minimize the evolution of resistance.

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