Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Most agricultural producers do not understand how pesticides work to to control insects; this lack of understanding has led to many control failures due to the development of resistant pests and has increased the use of pesticides. By explaining to farmers how and why pests become resistant, extension specialists, entomologists and other scientists will encourage farmers to utilize complex and effective pest management programs and to use lesser amounts of pesticides. This paper explains how resistant pest populations develop, what genetic changes are involved in the development of resistance, and how pesticides select for these genetic changes. It is written specifically for those agricultural scientists without a molcular genetic background.
In this overview of the molecular genetics of resistance, pesticides are regarded as one of the many environmental stresses against which insects must defend themselves to survive. Examined at the genetic level, pesticide resistance appears to be a preadapted response to stress and not due to novel mutations caused by pesticide exposure. The genetic mutations--gene amplification, altered gene regulation, structural alteration of a gene--which result in resistance are described and explained and a possible distribution mechanism of resistance genes is considered. Resistance mechanisms, their associated biological processes and the types of genetic mutations associated with each are detailed. Finally, the potential of molecular technology for the development of novel methods to detect and monitor for resistance is examined and compared to more traditional technology.