Increasing frequency of G275E mutation in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α6 subunit conferring spinetoram resistance in invading populations of western flower thrips in China.
The western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) is an important invasive pest worldwide. Field-evolved resistance to the pesticide spinetoram is an increasing problem in the chemical control of this pest. Here, we examined changes in the frequency of a genetic mutation associated with spinetoram resistance, the G275E mutation in the acetylcholine receptor Foα6, in 62 field populations collected from 2009 to 2021 across areas of China invaded by this pest. We found a low frequency of the G275E mutation in populations collected at the early invasion stage, in contrast to a high frequency in native USA populations. However, the frequency of the G275E mutation has increased to a high level in recently collected populations, with the mutation becoming fixed in some populations. There was a correlation between the frequency of the G275E mutation and resistance to spinetoram as characterized by median lethal concentration, although two populations were outliers. These results showed that G275E mutation is one of the mechanisms conferring spinetoram resistance in many invading populations in China. Ongoing dispersal of the WFT may have facilitated a rapid increase in the G275E mutation across China. Our study highlights the rapid evolution of pesticide resistance in an invasive species and points to a useful marker for molecular diagnostics of spinetoram resistance.