Insecticide resistance in mosquitoes and house flies

Insecticide resistance in mosquitoes and house flies

Mosquito-borne malaria infection rates have escalated in pregnant women in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. In Brazil, Zika virus has led to congenital malformations in children. Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama are looking into the causes of mosquito resistance to insecticides, potentially opening doors to new product development with environmentally sound approaches.

Researchers collected data over multiple years and identified four species in the first surveillance of mosquitos in Alabama over the last 10 years. One species was a carrier of West Nile Virus, and one was a vector for diseases such as Zika, dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya.

The research team discovered the genetic mechanism by which the Southern house mosquito is able to detoxify permethrin, a synthetic chemical that mimics a flower extract but is poisonous to insects. They also refined methods for studying physiological interactions with humans, learning more about why the insects prefer biting humans over animals.

These efforts are unlocking more clues to understanding and managing disease vectors.

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