• R. A. Morton

      Articles written in Journal of Genetics

    • Organophosphorus insecticide resistance inDrosophila melanogaster populations

      John S. Prevec Nicholas Darko Okoampah R. A. Morton

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      Natural variation inDrosophila melanogaster populations for mixed function oxidase activity and organophosphorus resistance was studied by sampling iso-chromosomal lines and laboratory selection. A 20-fold variation in malathion LC50 was found among a sample of 25 third chromosomes from a Raleigh, North Carolina, population. These chromosomes were combined in a population that was selected for malaoxon (a toxic metabolite of malathion) resistance over 12 generations. Response to selection was rapid—within three generations—but small, less than two-fold increase in malathion LC50. Mixed function oxidase activity, as assayed by 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase, increased in parallel with malathion resistance in the selected population. In spite of the fact that this population was initially formed from strains which were homozygous for chromosome III, after 12 generations of selection for malaoxon resistance only a minority of third chromosomes could be isolated as homozygous combinations. This suggests that selection favoured heterozygous combinations of alleles with decreased fitness in the homozygous state. In a second study, a sample of 39 iso-female lines were collected from a Vineland, Ontario, population. Imidan™ (phosmet) LC50 varied 20-fold among these iso-female lines and was strongly correlated with increased 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase activity. The distribution of 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase activity was bimodal and estimates of the effective number of segregating factors by Wright’s formula were consistent with a single gene controlling extreme 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase activity differences. Vineland flies responded rapidly to selection for imidan resistance, but as with malaoxon selection only to a small degree. The 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase activity increased in imidan-selected flies to the level of the most resistant iso-female line from the sampled population. The major part of selected imidan resistance and all of the increased 7-ethoxycoumarin-O-deethylase activity were attributed to third chromosomal genes. The results suggest that theseDrosophila populations contained a polymorphism for a major factor on chromosome III controlling elevated mixed function oxidase activity together with associated organophosphorus resistance. This polymorphism provided the immediate response to insecticide selection. Other genes have minor effects and combine to give a multifactorial response to selection over longer periods of time.

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