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Managing insecticide resistance in aphids in Scotland (InsResistance)
Start date: 01 Oct 2008, End date: 31 Mar 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Insecticide resistance, in which insecticides gradually become ineffective in controlling insect pests and insect-vectored plant diseases, has been recorded for a range of insect pests and crops. It leads to wasted pesticide applications, significant reductions in yields through not controlling the pest, and a high risk of produce exceeding maximum insecticide residue limits through repeated applications of insecticides to control increasingly harder-to-kill insect pests. Insecticide resistance in aphids is of particular concern. Besides being major agricultural and horticultural pests, aphids contribute to spread of plant viral diseases. We need to test for resistance traits in aphids to advise growers on the most appropriate insecticide programme required to avoid resistance to insecticides developing in aphids. Usually, resistance in a pest population develops to pesticides within one chemical class. Resistant insects can often be controlled using chemicals from other classes. However, traditional dose-response testing of pests to determine the nature of their resistance is time-consuming. We aim to develop a rapid resistance-detection method based on novel techniques for detecting a suite of mechanisms that code for resistance in aphids, plus mathematical modelling of resistance emergence. These techniques will form the basis of a practical service to manage resistant aphid populations. The service will save costs through, preventing wastage of insecticides, reducing environmental toxicity and chemical residues in food, and enhanced control of aphids. This fund will be used for collaboration between researchers at Rothamsted Research, UK, and the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI) and me to develop the service. A new research relationship between New Zealand and the UK will be developed and enhanced, cementing working relations with leading international researchers in population genetics and pesticide resistance in aphids.
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