Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Adaptation by copy number variation increases insecticide resistance in the fall armyworm.

Abstract

Understanding the genetic basis of insecticide resistance is a key topic in agricultural ecology. The adaptive evolution of multi-copy detoxification genes has been interpreted as a cause of insecticide resistance, yet the same pattern can also be generated by the adaptation to host-plant defense toxins. In this study, we tested in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), if adaptation by copy number variation caused insecticide resistance in two geographically distinct populations with different levels of resistance and the two host-plant strains. We observed a significant allelic differentiation of genomic copy number variations between the two geographic populations, but not between host-plant strains. A locus with positively selected copy number variation included a CYP gene cluster. Toxicological tests supported a central role for CYP enzymes in deltamethrin resistance. Our results indicate that copy number variation of detoxification genes might be responsible for insecticide resistance in fall armyworm and that evolutionary forces causing insecticide resistance could be independent of host-plant adaptation.