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Geographic Monitoring of Insecticide Resistance Mutations in Native and Invasive Populations of the Fall Armyworm

Abstract : The moth fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a major agricultural pest insect damaging a wide range of crops, especially corn. Field evolved resistance against Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins and synthetic insecticides has been repeatedly reported. While the fall armyworm is native to the Americas, its biological invasion was first reported from West Africa in 2016. Since then, this pest has been detected across sub-Saharan and North Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Here, we examine the geographical distribution of mutations causing resistance against Bt or synthetic insecticides to test if the invasion was accompanied by the spread of resistance mutations using 177 individuals collected from 12 geographic populations including North and South America, West and East Africa, India, and China. We observed that Bt resistance mutations generated in Puerto Rico or Brazil were found only from their native populations, while invasive populations had higher copy numbers of cytochrome P450 genes and higher proportions of resistance mutations at AChE, which are known to cause resistance against synthetic insecticides. This result explains the susceptibility to Bt insecticides and the resistance against synthetic insecticides in invasive Chinese populations. This information will be helpful in investigating the cause and consequence associated with insecticide resistance. Field evolved resistance to insecticides is one of the main challenges in pest control. The fall armyworm (FAW) is a lepidopteran pest species causing severe crop losses, especially corn. While native to the Americas, the presence of FAW was confirmed in West Africa in 2016. Since then, the FAW has been detected in over 70 countries covering sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. In this study, we tested whether this invasion was accompanied by the spread of resistance mutations from native to invasive areas. We observed that mutations causing Bt resistance at ABCC2 genes were observed only in native populations where the mutations were initially reported. Invasive populations were found to have higher gene numbers of cytochrome P450 genes than native populations and a higher proportion of multiple resistance mutations at acetylcholinesterase genes, supporting strong selective pressure for resistance against synthetic insecticides. This result explains the susceptibility to Bt insecticides and resistance to various synthetic insecticides in Chinese populations. These results highlight the necessity of regular and standardized monitoring of insecticide resistance in invasive populations using both genomic approaches and bioassay experiments.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 11:23:48 AM
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Sudeeptha Yainna, Nicolas Nègre, Pierre Silvie, Thierry Brévault, Wee Tek Tay, et al.. Geographic Monitoring of Insecticide Resistance Mutations in Native and Invasive Populations of the Fall Armyworm. Insects, MDPI, 2021, 12 (5), pp.468. ⟨10.3390/insects12050468⟩. ⟨hal-03247714⟩

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