Low pesticide rates may hasten the evolution of resistance by increasing mutation frequencies



At very low pesticide rates, a certain low proportion of pests may receive a sublethal dose, are highly stressed by the pesticide and yet survive. Stress is a general enhancer of mutation rates. Thus, the survivors are likely to have more than normal mutations, which might include mutations leading to pesticide resistance, both for multifactorial (polygenic, gene amplification, sequential allelic mutations) and for major gene resistance. Management strategies should consider how to eliminate the subpopulation of pests with the high mutation rates, but the best strategy is probably to avoid too low application rates of pesticides from the outset. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry