Resistance in pest insects to the grain fumigant phosphine (PH3) poses a threat to trade and food security. The possible pleiotropic effects of PH3 resistance on development and reproduction were investigated in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst), by introgressing two genes known to be major contributors to strong resistance (tc_rph1 and tc_rph2) into a susceptible background. The tc_rph2 allele was the G135S variant, whereas the identity of tc_rph1 allele was unknown but could have been one of the three known variants (L119W, V123F, or S349G). The introgressed resistant strain was 288× more resistant than the susceptible strain, based on mortality after a 20 h fumigation with PH3. Molecular screening confirmed that the introgressed strain was homozygous for the resistance genes, but was otherwise indistinguishable from the susceptible strain based on screening with 12 neutral DNA markers. We found no differences of consequence in developmental time between the susceptible and introgressed resistant strains. Similarly, the number of F1 adults produced by these strains was more or less equal, as was the weight of individual F1 adults. The conclusions remained the same regardless of whether the experiments were conducted on a flour-based medium or wheat. Thus, we found no evidence that being fully strongly PH3 resistant (i.e., homozygous for tc_rph1 and tc_rph2) has major consequences in terms of development or reproduction in T. castaneum.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3