Colorado potato beetle ‘super pest’ has genetic resources to avoid our attacks – Potato News Today

The Colorado potato beetle has developed resistance to more than 50 different types of insecticides, making the insect a “super-pest” that damages potatoes worldwide.

How Eric Hamilton writes at this University of Wisconsin-Madison news articlea new study found that the beetle achieved this feat largely by turning to deep diversity in its genome, which allowed different populations across the U.S. to rapidly develop resistance to just about anything humans threw at it.

The abundance of pest diversity and the arsenal of existing resistance genes is likely to make it more difficult to control in the future, no matter what new insecticides researchers develop. But a new understanding of the pest’s genomic resources could help scientists develop management systems that keep them under control.

“This beetle was one of the first to be attacked by chemicals in the modern era, and it was very successful in evolution after these attacks,” he says. Sean Shovel, Professor of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the new analysis. “For other insects we hope to fight, there are lessons to be learned from studying this pest. What mechanisms does this insect use to bypass these insecticides? ”

Sean Shovel

Together with his staff at UW-Madison and other Shovel establishments published his findings January 19 in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Shovil’s team first sequenced the Colorado potato beetle genome in 2018. Since then, they have studied the genome to understand how an insect can so quickly overcome new insecticides. To do this, they sequenced several dozen beetles from across the United States. These regional populations differ depending on which pesticides they are resistant to and where they came from, which may provide a clue to the evolutionary history of the pest.

The researchers found that these different regional groups developed so rapidly because their parent populations already had the genetic resources needed to overcome insecticides.

“It is known that evolving genes are involved in insect resistance. But the interesting thing is that different populations change different parts of genes or different genes in the same way, ”says Schauville. This similar but not identical pathway to resistance in different populations is known as re-evolution.

This rapid evolution, based on much of the existing genetic diversity, contradicts the old model of evolution, which suggested that rare mutations should slowly occur in a population. While new mutations are indeed evolving and may contribute to insecticide resistance, the rapid reaction of the potato beetle to new chemicals in different parts of the country can only be explained by its existing diversity.

The findings are unwelcome news for farmers and scientists hoping to reverse the course of potato beetle attacks. It seems unlikely, says Shauville, that even a new insecticide would keep the pest under control for a long time.

But, armed with knowledge of how the Colorado potato beetle circumvented our attacks, future research could help develop creative strategies to keep up with this nemesis.

“Better models can help us learn how different management techniques affect beetle evolution. It may allow us to change our management style to slow it down, ”says Schauville.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison. The original article is here
Photo: The rapid spread, frost resistance and famous tiger-like stripes of the Colorado potato beetle have attracted worldwide attention since it began infecting potatoes in the 1800s. Photo of Zach Cohen’s loan
Additional information: Benjamin Pelissier et al., Re-genome investigation shows rapid, re-evolution in the Colorado potato beetle, Molecular biology and evolution (2022). DOI: 10.1093 / molbev / msac016 Colorado potato beetle ‘super pest’ has genetic resources to avoid our attacks – Potato News Today

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