Roles of selection intensity, major genes, and minor genes in evolution of insecticide resistance

Francis R. Groeters, Bruce E. Tabashnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


A prominent hypothesis about insecticide resistance is that genes of major effect play a key role in field-evolved resistance because the intensity of selection is extremely high in the field. A corollary hypothesis is that the lower intensity of selection in laboratory selection experiments favors polygenic control of insecticide resistance. Contrary to these hypotheses, a literature review revealed that the intensity of selection for insecticide resistance in the field varies widely and overlaps broadly with selection intensities in the laboratory. Also contrary to these hypotheses, results from simulations of population genetic models suggest that selection intensities typical of laboratory selection experiments favor resistance that is conferred by major genes. Major genes dominated responses to selection for resistance across a wide range of simulated selection intensities, with and without fitness costs and refuges. The simulation results also suggest that the intensity of selection, rather than the number of loci conferring resistance, is central in determining rates of resistance evolution and effectiveness of refuges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1587
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000


  • Fitness cost
  • Insecticide resistance
  • Monogenic
  • Polygenic
  • Refuge
  • Selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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