• Rhyzopertha dominica;
  • resistance gene;
  • marker;
  • resistance monitoring



The lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica (F.), is a highly destructive pest of stored grain that is strongly resistant to the fumigant phosphine (PH3). Phosphine resistance is due to genetic variants at the rph2 locus that alter the function of the dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (DLD) gene. This discovery now enables direct detection of resistance variants at the rph2 locus in field populations.


A genotype assay was developed for direct detection of changes in distribution and frequency of a phosphine resistance allele in field populations of R. dominica. Beetles were collected from ten farms in south-east Queensland in 2006 and resampled in 2011. Resistance allele frequency increased in the period from 2006 to 2011 on organic farms with no history of phosphine use, implying that migration of phosphine-resistant R. dominica had occurred from nearby storages.


Increasing resistance allele frequencies on organic farms suggest local movement of beetles and dispersal of insects from areas where phosphine has been used. This research also highlighted for the first time the utility of a genetic DNA marker in accurate and rapid determination of the distribution of phosphine-resistant insects in the grain value chain. Extending this research over larger landscapes would help in identifying resistance problems and enable timely pest management decisions. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry