Regional differences in gene regulation may underlie patterns of sensitivity to novel insecticides in Colorado potato beetle
Agricultural insect pests frequently exhibit geographic variation in levels of insecticide resistance, which are often presumed to be due to the intensity of insecticide use for pest management. However, regional differences in the evolution of resistance to novel insecticides suggests that other factors are influencing rates of adaptation. We examined LC50 bioassay data spanning 15 years and six insecticides (abamectin, imidacloprid, spinosad, cyantraniliprole, chlorantraniliprole, and metaflumizone) for evidence of regional differences in Colorado potato beetle (CPB) baseline sensitivity to insecticides as they became commercially available. We consistently found that CPB populations from the Western USA had the highest baseline sensitivity to novel insecticides, while populations from the Eastern USA had the lowest. Comparisons of gene expression between populations from these regions revealed constitutively elevated expression of an array of detoxification genes in the East, but no evidence of additional induction when exposed to imidacloprid. Our results suggest a mechanism for geographic variation in rates of adaptation to insecticides whereby baseline levels of gene expression determine a populations response to novel insecticides. These findings have implications for the regional development of insecticide resistance management strategies and for the fundamental question of what determines the rate of adaptation to insecticides.
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