In a search for a pyrethroid resistance diagnostic marker, a partial sequence of the para-like sodium channel gene was obtained from 78 diploid females of the arrhenotokous insect pest species Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), the western flower thrips. Although all the insects analyzed came from a single laboratory population, nine different haplotypes were obtained. Two haplotypes did have the well-known L to F kdr mutation, but only one of these could be statistically linked to pyrethroid resistance in our population. This haplotype did not have the superkdr mutation, but did have a unique mutation a few amino acids downstream, at a position already linked to resistance in Plutella. Although this para-like locus seemed to have a role in pyrethroid resistance in our population, other resistance mechanisms were also probably involved. The fact that our laboratory population, open to migration, contained a high genetic diversity for this selected gene shows that “pest tourism” is a major factor for resistance dynamics in this greenhouse pest. This, with the possible occurrence of an original resistance mutation, might preclude the use of very specific approaches for resistance monitoring in the field in this species.
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