To investigate the genetic basis of cross-resistance to insecticides, natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster (Meigen) were first collected from four different locations in Japan. After 10–80 isofemale lines of each population had been established in a laboratory, the susceptibility of each line to each of the insecticides permethrin, malathion, fenitrothion, prothiophos, and DDT was examined. Broad ranges of continuous variation in susceptibility to all the chemicals were observed within each natural population as a whole. In addition, highly significant correlations among responses to organophosphates were observed. However, based on the coefficients of determination, about less than half of variation in responses to one insecticide could be explained by variation in responses to another insecticide, suggesting that not only a common resistance factor but also other factors could be involved in a natural population. Genetic analyses by using resistant and susceptible inbred lines from the same natural population demonstrated that resistance to organophosphates in some resistant lines could be due to a single or tightly linked factors, and that resistance in the other line may be due to more than one major factor. These observations could suggest that several resistance factors may be involved within each natural population, and that some of major factors could contribute to correlations among responses to organophosphates. These major factors could then contribute to the broad ranges of continuous variation observed at the level of the populations.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1